Expectation in Colombia for a new era at the hands of Gustavo Petro

Petro, a former guerrilla fighter from the M-19 and former senator, will become on Sunday the first leftist to assume the Presidency of Colombia, historically governed by leaders of the center and right.

The new president promised during the campaign to fight against the Social inequality with free university education and one pension system reformwhile proposing to restore relations with neighboring Venezuelafully implement the peace agreement with the former guerrilla group of the FARC and seek agreements with the remaining armed groups.

unknown terrain

“The left has never driven us,” bus driver Hernán Vargas, 55, told Reuters in the El Rocío neighborhood, southeast of Bogota. “There is a lot of hope.”

Many inhabitants of this working-class neighborhood on the slopes of Bogotá’s eastern hills, with views of the presidential palace and the Congresssaid they voted for Gustavo Petro and approve of his career as mayor of the Colombian capital.

“I imagine that with him we are going to a new Colombia,” said potter Jorge Eliécer Alegría, 40, who takes care of his sick mother and hopes for an improvement in the service of the Health System.

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The financial markets Colombians have been nervous because they fear Petro’s plans will hurt the economy.

They are particularly concerned about the proposal to ban new oil exploitation. But the incoming president built a broad coalition in Congress to pass his platform, including a draft tax reform that seeks to raise taxes on people with higher incomes and raise some 5.8 billion dollars to finance social programs.

“We have the challenge of being able to comply with the social programs that have been proposed,” Diego Guevara, the new deputy finance minister, said this week.

“The themes of job If we are concerned, we can’t really rejoice that there is good (economic) growth when the unemployment numbers are in double digits,” he added.

Caution among opponents

Other Colombians are more reserved in their expectations of Gustavo Petro.

“It seems to me that they can put a lot of obstacles, because of the history of the left in Latin America and because people are afraid of something they don’t know,” said self-described leftist Juliana Pade, 33, in the city center.

“All of us who don’t vote for him always have some concern because I don’t share many of the ideals he has,” said Daniela Giraldo, 23, in northern Bogotá.

The high cost of living it is his priority, said Giraldo, who works in a public relations office and also wants to see progress in education and peace efforts.

“If he is going to be the change, hopefully he is and he does it well,” he said.

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