The former Uruguayan president Jose “Pepe” Mujica celebrated this Monday the victory of Gustavo Petrobecame the first left-wing ruler of Colombiaand urged the citizens to help him because he “can’t do magic”.
LOOK: Colombia 2022 Election Results: Gustavo Petro 50.44%, Rodolfo Hernández 47.31%
“The first thing Colombia needs is peace to face social problems,” but “we must help the new government,” said Mujica, 87, who presided over Uruguay from 2010 to 2015.
Petro “is not a god, he is just a president who cannot do magic, he needs the collaboration of a large part of his people,” he told Colombian radio station W Radio.
Petro, a 62-year-old former guerrilla, won the second round of populist Rodolfo Hernández, a 77-year-old millionaire.
Mujica, who days ago released a video calling Colombians to vote for Petro, was in prison from 1973 to 1985 for his militancy in the Tupamaros National Liberation Movement during the military dictatorship. A quarter of a century later he became president of his country.
From that experience, he considered that Petro’s insurgent past as a member of the M-19 was not “a problem” but “an advantage.”
“That’s the advantage, he knows the pain from both sides,” Mujica said of the newly elected president. “The problem is getting over it. You can’t spend your whole life collecting bills from the past.”
“It is an opportunity to try to learn from our own pain (…). Now the fight in a society like Colombia is the fight because some enemies can become adversaries, which is not the same”, something fundamental to “learn to live together”, he pointed out.