The time of the Petro era

For some analysts, the change began on June 19 when more than 11 million Colombians chose Gustavo Petroa former guerrilla who bet on peace and fulfilled the agreement, but also elected as vice president France Marquezan Afro-descendant woman, a freehand woman who experienced all the injustices together that are experienced in an exclusive and unjust society.

After two attempts, in the third attempt, Gustavo Petro, an economist graduated from the Externado de Colombia University, was born 62 years ago in Ciénaga de Oro, Córdoba, an excellent speaker, great reader and admirer of the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, so much so that the name he chose when he was a member of the M-19 was Aureliano, the character in the novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’. And to have greater satisfaction, President Petro was fortunate to study high school at the La Salle de Zipaquirá school where García Márquez also studied.

Petro with a long experience as a congressman, both in the Chamber and the Senate, because there he stood out while leaving an indelible mark of being one of the best that has passed through the legislature. His debates will be remembered for their high impact in the country. To cite only those of parapolitics and complaints against corruption.

As mayor of Bogotá, he had to face the fiercest opposition and over time the facts managed to show that this bad image that the establishment and a good part of the big press alike built for him was not true. And he demonstrated it with the majority support that Bogota citizens gave him at the polls, that is, if Petro won in Bogota, it is because his administration as mayor passed the test.

One of the best profiles that have been written about President Gustavo Petro, who takes office this Sunday, August 7 (2022-2026), It was done by the samarian writer, José Luis Díaz-Granados, published in the weekly Voz. We reproduce it here so that the readers of El can delight in this highly-crafted literary piece.

‘Gustavo Petro, epigone of Gabo’

“Physically, his face has features of the face of Jean-Paul Sartre and Carlos Lleras Restrepo at the same time. In the authoritarian character, typical of those born under the sign of Aries, not far from a certain arrogant bias and, why not?, from an unfathomable touch of arrogance, he is closer to Lleras. But he is more similar to Sartre in that hint of conceptual superiority, if you will imposing and sometimes dogmatic, that the existentialist writer never hid from his followers.

Although the tone of his voice has the evident accent of a distant and self-satisfied Bogotano, deep down in his heart he is more Caribbean (or coastal, as the cachacos say), than any of his compatriots can imagine. Not surprisingly, his fundamental idol is Gabriel García Márquez.

Let us remember that when he was mayor of Bogotá, he not only had a statue of the novelist erected in the Liévano Palace square, but also inaugurated the Garden of the Yellow Butterflies, together with a permanent exhibition on Gabo, after sending to the dustbin of history the names of the colonial invaders of the main precinct of the Mayor’s Office to baptize it as the Macondo Room, which still maintains its name.

One hundred years of solitude

And what is the reason for so much devotion for that coastal narrator whose physical integrity was about to be desecrated by the government of the Security Statute, accused of keeping weapons in his house for the April 19 Movement, M-19?

Why? Because Gabriel García Márquez is the greatest Colombian writer of all time? Because he is the novelist who has recreated with greater height, beauty and veracity the convulsive history of the country? Because it is the most genuine foundational epic that Our America has produced?

Surely yes, and surely because of all of the above, Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego baptized himself as “El Comandante Aureliano”, in honor of Colonel Aureliano Buendía, the central character of One Hundred Years of Solitude, when he was a member of the insurgent movement M- 19, because from that time on, the brilliant fabulist from Macondo was already his particular god. We must not forget that Commander Jaime Bateman Cayón once asked his followers to read One Hundred Years of Solitude instead of El Capital, which seemed heresy at the time.

colossal destinations

But there may be something else: the personal and human similarities. And even political, because both are men of the left, in their own way, but very firm in their ideological convictions. Petro’s father, like Gabo’s, were and are doctrinaire conservatives, of pure Laureanist lineage. On his mother’s side, Gabo’s mother was a great admirer of the revolutionary leader Rafael Uribe Uribe; that of Gustavo Petro, she is a faithful follower of the ideas of the popular leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán.

And one fine day his sons, Gabriel and Gustavo, with the same name as their parents, of deep and authentic Caribbean lineage -Gabo, born in Aracataca, Magdalena; Petro, in Ciénaga de Oro, Córdoba-, both of distant Italian descent and married to women from the deep heart of Bolívar Grande -from Magangué, Bolívar, and from Sincelejo, Sucre, respectively- turned out overnight, without what and without where, transplanted to Zipaquirá, an Andean city two hours from Bogotá, with an enigmatic Salt Cathedral, and a mythical universal cyclist named Efraín Forero, and where in the midst of a glacial and ghostly climate, they lived the stellar moments of an adolescence full of luminous omens and exuberant dreams, which foreshadowed their colossal and unequivocal destinies.

“Many years later” (as One Hundred Years of Solitude begins), in 1982, Gabriel García Márquez won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and forty years later, Gustavo Petro Urrego is at the gates of the Presidency of Colombia by the majority popular will .

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The time of the Petro era