Colombia’s most divisive and controversial candidate made his candidacy official today, when leftist and former M-19 terrorist Gustavo Petro registered his signatures with official bodies in Colombia’s capital of Bogotá earlier today. Speaking with young supporters as he handed in the signatures, Petro declared, “We are here to win the elections.”
Petro invited all progressives on the left to unite and join him in his cause.
“I think that they’ll welcome our effort, and in this I want to be clear, to run the government. We are not here to participate in elections, we’ve already done that before, we are here to win. And for that reason, I invite all strong progressives from Colombia to prepare to take control of this government”, Petro said.
His emphatic response followed questions whether the former terrorist and convicted felon would face problems with so many liberals vying for the presidency, including Claudia López, Jorge Robledo, and independent Sergio Fajardo. Clearly, Petro believes he can win over their supporters.
Petro also spoke to peace agreements signed with FARC guerrillas, a process that he has strongly supported.
“This peace accord, we’ll have to see what problems are causing our dividing our citizens, not only the agreements in Havana but also health care for Colombians, how we can change the economic model to once that protects nature and creates millions of jobs”, he added.
Petro also answered questions about possible sanctions that are being brought against him and the legal consequences that they present. He indicated that he is not worried that they will become an impediment to his candidacy.
Gustavo Petro, the former mayor of Bogotá, is an extreme leftist candidate who often recalls experiences in his youth with Hugo Chávez. He is a former M-19 terrorist who was arrested and served 18 months in prison for the illegal possession of arms. Petro has been a vocal supporter of the FARC accords and a staunch opponent of the country’s conservatives. Though he currently leads early polling, many critics fear that a Petro presidency would have a devastating impact on foreign investment, property rights, and the country’s fiscal budget.