The pursuit of ‘total peace’ for Colombia

Starting point for the Petro team

Petro took office on 7 August, having appointed a 17-strong ministerial team. Although there will likely be future cabinet reshuffles down the road, the political and personal nature of this opening team will have a direct bearing on prospects for peace. Turning to Petro himself, the new president is something of an outsider – in other words, not a member of political parties that form the traditional Colombian political elite – but also an experienced politician. Aged 62 on taking office, Petro has been politically active for over four decades. At an early age (17, according to some accounts) he joined the April 19th (M-19) guerrilla movement, an armed group that had been formed following allegations of fraud in the 1970 elections. In 1985 he was arrested by the army and accused of illegal possession of firearms, for which he served an 18-month prison sentence. During his time in prison, he is believed to have moved away from the idea of armed struggle towards favouring peaceful political engagement as a pathway for change. In the late 1980s the M-19 took part in peace talks with the government and eventually disbanded. Petro was subsequently active in a number of left-wing parties, including the M-19 Democratic Alliance (an early political successor to the guerrilla movement), Via Alterna, and Polo Democrático Alternativo (PDA). He was an active member of congress, becoming a senator in 2006 and taking part in various polemics, including those concerning the ‘parapolitics’ affair, which focused on the alleged paramilitary links of establishment politicians including then-president Alvaro Uribe.

End of preview - This article contains approximately 1005 words.

Subscribers: Log in now to read the full article

Not a Subscriber?

Choose from one of the following options

Intelligence Research Ltd.
167-169 Great Portland Street,
5th floor,
London, W1W 5PF - UK
Phone : +44 (0) 203 695 2790
You may contact us via our online contact form
Copyright © 2022 Intelligence Research Ltd. All rights reserved.