Gustavo Petro

Article

July 6, 2022

Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego (born April 19, 1960 in Ciénaga de Oro, Córdoba) is a Colombian politician and economist of Italian descent, a former member of the extinct M-19 guerrilla and current president-elect of Colombia. Former Senator of the Republic for the period 2018-2022, founder of the Colombia Humana political movement. He was a candidate for the presidency of Colombia in 2010 and 2018. In 2020, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a decision against the Colombian state for having removed and obstructed the mayor of Bogotá de Petro in 2013. From a very young age he lived in Zipaquirá, Cundinamarca and in this city he held various public positions. As a youth, he was part of the Colombian rebel guerrilla organization Movimiento 19 de Abril, which demobilized on March 8, 1990. He was a senator of the Republic for the Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA), a position he acceded to in the 2006 elections. In 2009, he resigned to run for the presidency of Colombia in the 2010 elections on behalf of the same community. He was mayor of Bogotá from 2012 to 2015. In the 2022 elections, he was elected president of Colombia.

Early years and education

Son of professor Gustavo Petro Sierra and Clara Nubia Urrego. He was born on April 19, 1960 in Ciénaga de Oro, Córdoba. He was baptized Gustavo Francisco in honor of his father and grandfather. When he was in 2nd grade, his family moved to Zipaquirá. There he studied at the Colegio de La Salle de Zipaquirá, where he founded the newspaper Carta al Pueblo and a cultural center he named Gabriel García Márquez. At this stage, Petro began to meet with union and workers' movements in Zipaquirá. Petro graduated at age 16 from Colegio Nacional San Juan Bautista de La Salle and obtained one of the best scores in the ICFES exam for admission to higher education in all of Colombia. He graduated as an economist at the Externado University of Colombia. After finishing his university studies, he was elected deputy for the National Popular Alliance (ANAPO) in 1981 and councilor of Zipaquirá from 1984 to 1986. After demobilizing from the M-19 guerrilla group, he traveled to Belgium, as part of the negotiations when he left the guerrilla , where he graduated in Environment and Population Development at the Catholic University of Louvain. He then started his doctorate in New Trends in Business Administration at the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University and the University of Salamanca.

Militancy in the April 19 Movement

Gustavo Petro became a member of the M-19 in 1977. Colombia was under siege (which endorsed the current 1886 constitution) 18 after the apparent electoral fraud that gave the presidency to national front candidate Misael Pastrana and left out Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, and this motivated the insurgent ideological initiative called M19. His pseudonym was "Comandante Aureliano", in honor of Colonel Aureliano Buendía, a character in the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, by the Colombian Gabriel García Márquez. In 1984, with the M19 in a truce and in peace negotiations, and while he was a councilor in Zipaquirá, he made public his militancy in a demonstration in the main square of the municipality. In October 1985, the truce ended. Petro lived in one of the neighborhoods of Zipaquirá (Bolívar 83), and one night, still serving as a councilor and active member of the M-19 guerrilla, he was captured by the Army and later convicted of conspiracy. Before being taken to a military court and arrested. Petro had contact with someone to whom, in his words, "everyone in the place paid homage"; he at first believed it was Alfonso Plazas Vega. Much later, Petro verified and rectified that Plazas Vega was not in the country during the days he was tortured. In February 1987, Petro was released and traveled to Santander and Tolima, where along with M19 militants such as Carlos Pizarro Leongomez, he participated in the peace process between the group and the government of Virgilio Barco. As part of the l