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Surprise election benefits in Colombia usher in a new political period


Colombia manufactured historical past this 7 days.

Progressive previous M-19 guerrilla Gustavo Petro, a existing senator and former mayor of the nation’s funds Bogotá, received the presidential election. His working mate Francia Márquez Mina will be the nation’s 1st Black vice president. Theirs will be the initially leftist presidential administration in Colombian record. The Petro/Márquez ticket garnered much more votes than in any presidential race in Colombian history.

“Brothers and sisters, we have produced an important action forward,” Vice President-elect Francia Márquez stated, addressing her supporters on election night time. She is an Afro-Colombian environmental activist, land and h2o defender and 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize winner. “After 214 several years, we will have a government that represents the men and women.”

In contrast to the the latest working experience in the United States, Petro’s opponent, rightwing populist millionaire businessman Rodolfo Hernández, conceded his defeat on election day.

Colombia is stated to have the best inequality in Latin The us. A current OECD (the Organisation for Financial Co-operation and Development) report on the state uncovered that it would consider a very poor family eleven generations to escape from the poorest 10% of the populace to access the median money. Systemic inequality was exacerbated by the pandemic, pushing millions deeper into poverty and food insecurity. Protests have rocked the country, fulfilled with law enforcement and armed service violence that remaining several dead.

In a further historic transfer, Petro and Márquez ended up joined on the phase election night time by Jenny Alejandra Medina, whose son, Dilan Cruz, an 18-yr-outdated university student, was between individuals killed by police in mass protests in 2018. The even now grieving mom boomed into the microphone,

“I elevate my voice on behalf of my son to need justice. I welcome you, President, mainly because we all have our hopes in you, in justice. You are the hope of us, the very poor, the needy.”

Francia Márquez, speaking on the Democracy Now! information hour before this yr, stated, “Mothers go to do the job in the houses of other families, and they occur residence to bury their little ones. That is the history of our state.”

All through that March interview, Márquez explained her vision for the upcoming of her nation:

“In Colombia a new type of authorities is probable, governance that is designed up from the Black, Indigenous and peasant peoples from the incredibly unique sectors of the local community, LGBTIQ+, from the youth, from the ladies, from the little farmers of Colombia, those people who have been no one particular — that is to say, who have by no means had a voice in the govt, who have by no means experienced a voice in order to place ahead our grievances as a persons.”

Márquez continued, “Today we will need to place ahead the nobodies, the people who’ve by no means experienced a voice, to step into the point out so that we can compose our personal historical past, a background that will make it doable to live with dignity, with justice, with equity, with equality, that would help every and every 1 of us to switch the page of violence of the armed conflict and to go after agenda of social justice.”

The establishment’s failure to “turn the page” on the very long, violent heritage of Colombia also contributed to Petro’s victory. In 2016, the federal government signed a peace accord with the FARC rebel group, which had waged an armed insurrection in the country for far more than fifty yrs. In trade for laying down arms, previous FARC guerrillas had been promised reintegration with financial prospect and political illustration. Alternatively, very low-income rural communities continue to endure murders and disappearances at the palms of rightwing paramilitaries.

“The Constitutional Court docket has just regarded the unconstitutional point out of affairs in terms of the failure of this authorities to implement the peace accords,” Francia Márquez defined. “This circumstance of armed conflict and abandonment in terms of no social expense, demands to be brought to a halt. It’s not heading to be introduced to a halt by the privileged elites of white adult men who have traditionally ruled our place. It is the folks who want to move forward to push their grievances.”

On Election evening, standing up coming to Vice President-elect Francia Márquez, herself a descendant of enslaved persons, Gustavo Petro claimed, “We will produce capitalism in Colombia, not due to the fact we worship it, but simply because we 1st have to triumph over premodernity in Colombia, feudalism in Colombia and the new slavery. We ought to conquer the earlier mentalities and behaviors connected to that globe of slavery.”

The men and women of Colombia have specified Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez an possibility to pursue a various path ahead for their nation. They will confront opposition from a divided Congress. Describing the problems in advance, Manuel Rozental, a Colombian medical professional, activist and grassroots organizer, mentioned on Democracy Now!, “The hurdle has been prevail over by winning the election, but the primary hurdle, the Institution, are unable to be adjusted by the govt it has to be transformed from the persons, by the people today.”

This column originally appeared on Democracy Now!

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