Gustavo Petro, Bogota’s former mayor, is a leading candidate in the 2018 presidential elections. Most view him as a left-winged candidate because of his proposals.
But in an interview with CGTN, Petro said he wants to be seen as the “progressive” candidate, calling for a “Colombia humana”, or humane Colombia, as his slogan states.
CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports.
“The Humane Colombia is a country with social reforms that will permit harmonious living, and a profound democracy, that is the formula needed to end decades of violence and peace for this country,” Petro explained.
Petro said his primary proposal is to concentrate on combating climate change by diversifying the country’s energy from oil, (Colombia’s top export) to renewable and clean energy. He believes relying on the volatile price of oil is not sustainable in the long-term.
“The oil crisis showed that we clearly cannot reduce poverty with a system based on the price of primary resources. The clearest example of that failure is Venezuela,” he said.
While Petro has criticized the Venezuelan government, his detractors portray him as a sympathizer of guerillas and the Nicolas Maduro presidency. Petro is also a former member of the demobilized guerrilla group called M-19.
Petro also said Colombia should move away from what he calls “ineffective” drug policies lead by the United States. Instead, he calls on economic development to “move the population away” from the illicit trade.
“An anti-drug policy for me is to take the population [from traffickers], it is also democratic agrarian reform for the cultivators of cocoa […]and finally taking away the consumers,” Petro said.
Supporter turn-out at rallies has been high. The campaign claims they are completely organic and unpaid for. But he question remains if this will lead to votes on election day. If Petro wins, he would make history in a conservative country, becoming the first left- leaning president in Colombia’s history.