The Guardian view on Colombia’s election: a chance for a change | Editorial

The emergence of a progressive politics in a country traditionally in the grip of the right should be welcomed

The victory of Gustavo Petro, a former leftwing guerrilla fighter, in Colombia’s presidential election is a watershed moment in Latin America. Mr Petro will be the first leftwinger to lead the country, which is traditionally governed by rightwing, elitist parties. He won because voters, especially those in Colombia’s biggest cities, were tired of the corruption, poverty, inequality and violence – all exacerbated by Covid – that have plagued the country.

Mr Petro, who was previously Bogotá’s mayor, campaigned to expand social programmes, tax the rich and move away from an economy dependent on fossil fuels. He argued that since abandoning a coffee-based economy 30 years ago, Colombia had become too reliant on exports of oil, coal and cocaine – production of which has tripled since 2012. The first two are unsustainable because of the climate emergency, and the last is a canker lurking in trade statistics that has fuelled a deadly resurgence of armed gangs.

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Source : The Guardian view on Colombia’s election: a chance for a change | Editorial