Colombia (MNN) — Colombia has elected its first ever leftist president. Gustavo Petro, a former rebel, served as a senator for many years in South America’s second-largest country. He received more than 50 percent of the vote, beating out an influential businessman.
Mr. Petro will take office in August.
Brian Dennett with AMG International says Colombians are ready for a change. “As a left-wing President offering some new ideas, the poorer sectors of the country are very pleased, very hopeful. But the private sector, especially businessmen, are somewhat fearful at the moment.”
Petro has promised to make the country less reliant on oil exports and the illegal cocaine business.
He also pledged to halt deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. More than 40 percent of Colombia is in the Amazon. Cattle ranching has proven the largest reason for deforestation.
But Dennett says Colombia’s congress will most likely oppose much of his agenda. “We are encouraged by some things that the new president has discussed, like a focus on entrepreneurship, employment for the poor, and even promoting peace in the country. I think this is a reminder for us that our hope is ultimately in Jesus, not in governments.”
AMG’s work in Colombia
AMG works in several areas of Colombia hard-hit by the drug trade. Dennett says, “Our focus in Colombia is on education. Through child sponsors here in the U.S. and in Canada, we operate school programs where we’re not just educating, but we’re also feeding, providing nutrition and health care. And of course, discipleship is part of that.”
You can support AMG’s work here.
The header photo shows Gustavo Petro (left) and his running mate on the campaign trail. (Photo courtesy of Roboting, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)