Gustavo Petro, former mayor of Bogotá and former member of the extinct guerrilla M-19, takes office this August 7 as the first leftist president in Colombia. Petro assumes the Executive together with his vice president, Francia Márquez, in the middle of a day full of cultural events in which the indigenous communities stand out. But another of his requests: to exhibit Bolívar’s sword stolen and returned by the M-19, was frustrated, after not obtaining the necessary permits from the outgoing government.
After participating in an indigenous ritual the day before, this Sunday, August 7, the new president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, is sworn in together with his vice president, Francia Márquez.
At the official ceremony, which is scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. local time, about 100,000 people are expected to participate. The King of Spain Felipe VI and 10 heads of state arrived in Bogotá to join the event. Among them, the presidents of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, and that of Chile, Gabriel Boric, to whom Petro joins in the new turn to the left in Latin America.
For his inauguration ceremony, the new president made two main requests: massive cultural activities, which from early this Sunday will run through the streets of the city, and the exhibition of the sword of the liberator Simón Bolívar to accompany Petro’s tour from the Palace from San Carlos to Plaza de Bolívar. However, the second request has been truncated.
- There will be no display of Bolívar’s sword at Petro’s investiture
As a former member of the M-19 guerrilla, for Petro the sword of Simón Bolívar has a special meaning, since the disappeared insurgent group, remembered among other actions for the armed takeover of the Palace of Justice in 1985, had that weapon in its power for 17 years. The movement stole it in 1974 and returned it after its demobilization in 1990.
Petro hoped that the sword would accompany him during his journey of possession. But official sources quoted by the local press confirmed that the team in charge of the new president’s investiture ceremony did not obtain the necessary permits from the outgoing government to remove her from the Casa de Nariño, where he rests.
In 1974, the M19 guerilla group Gustavo Petro would join, stole one of Simón Bolívar’s swords from a museum, writing “Bolívar, your sword returns to the struggle” (Bolívar, your sword returns to the struggle). Today, Petro writes “I will make sure the Colombian people see it & own it” https://t.co/D3Mvasoh59
— Michael Deibert (@michaelcdeibert) June 24, 2022
So that the new president could take her on his tour this Sunday, the organizing team had obtained different insurance policies in order to protect her from any eventuality. Still, the sword will not be at the event.
- Petro appoints the heads of the Ministries of Justice and Housing
A few hours before officially taking office, Gustavo Petro announced new members of his cabinet. This Sunday he announced that the lawyer and former magistrate of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, Néstor Osuna, will be the new Minister of Justice of Colombia.
“Néstor Osuna, an Externado lawyer who was a magistrate of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, will be the Minister of Justice. Judicial independence, the fight against corruption and citizen access to the judicial system will be pillars of a justice reform” Petro published through his Twitter account.
Néstor Osuna, an Externado lawyer who was a magistrate of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, will be the Minister of Justice. Judicial independence, the fight against corruption and citizen access to the judicial system will be pillars of a justice reform.
– Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) August 7, 2022
Likewise, Petro reported that Catalina Velasco will be the new Minister of Housing. She is an expert in habitat and planning and who was Secretary of Planning during the Petro Administration as mayor of Bogotá.
“One of his responsibilities will be to lead a true public policy of social housing in Colombia,” said the new leader of the Executive.
- Cultural events and indigenous representation take the investiture day
The change of command ceremony has been preceded by multiple parades and folklore acts that run through the main streets of the Colombian capital.
The indigenous communities that came to Bogotá from different parts of the country stand out.
All in the midst of a packed agenda that also includes the participation of the emblematic carnival of blacks and whites, samples of Andean music, exhibitions of plastic arts and graffiti, among others.
Petro promised to inaugurate a “multicolor” democracy, after assuring that “more popular organization throughout Colombia” is necessary.
“The President of the Republic summons them to organize themselves and undoubtedly that plurality, that multiculturalism, that multicolored spectrum that should be that of the popular organization must be unified in the midst of diversity, coordinated, connected with each other,” Petro said on Saturday 6 August, in a “popular and spiritual” investiture act in front of people from indigenous, Afro, peasant and ethnic peoples from all over the country.
With EFE and local media
Source: France 24