Colombia swears In 1st left-leaning President 

Colombia’s new president, Sen. Gustavo Petro, was sworn into office on Sunday, becoming the country’s first leftist president. 

How did he get there? 

A former member of Colombia’s M-19 guerrilla group, Petro won the presidential election in June, beating conservative parties that offered moderate changes to the market-friendly economy. Frustrated by rising poverty and violence against human rights leaders and environmental groups, Colombian electorates voted against the status quo, breaking from a history of electoral disaffection for left-leaning candidates – for their alleged softness on crime. 

What are his plans? 

Petro has declared that his focus will be on fighting inequality and bringing peace to Colombia, a country rocked by violent conflicts between the government, drug traffickers, and rebel groups. With a promise of pursuing economic policies that would end longstanding inequalities and ensure “solidarity” with the most vulnerable, Petro declared the country’s war on drugs a failure. 

What’s he going to do differently? 

He has expressed willingness to begin peace talks with armed groups across the country. Petro has also called on the United States and other nations to change their strategy on drugs, advocating for measures that prevent drug consumption instead of policies that are focused on the prohibition of substances, which have in turn fueled violent conflicts across the country and other Latin American nations. 

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