August 11, 2022

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Although an M-19 guerrilla, He prefers to be called a revolutionary rather than a guerrilla because he always feels comfortable carrying out revolutions and leads the left to the presidency. That is what arises in these elections.

He has tried a third time and he will have to risk it in the second round. Only his opponent, former President Alvaro Eurip Welles, was able to win in the first round in Colombia.

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62 years ago, in 1960, Ciénaga de Oro was born in a town in the Caribbean region of Córdoba. He grew up and studied in Zibagra, an Andean town near Bogot, inland. He is the eldest of three brothers, from a middle class family, a father from the beach and a mother from the interior.

Aerial view of a billboard with the election campaign for Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Pedro for the historic Pact Alliance in Galle. (Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP).

That combination also persists in his character: Personally shy, quiet and proud as he is described, but he’s a great speaker and comfortable when he takes the stage in one of the public squares he usually fills these days.There he stuns his listeners with eloquent phrases and mesmerizing speeches.

His steps by the gorilla

“One life, many lives” His autobiography, published a few months before the campaign, shows that he is always out of placeIn solitude, aside, and by a certain arrogance he has conquered many situations in his life.

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At the school of La Salle de Zipaquirá, at the same school where Gabriel Garcia Marquez went, he responded arrogantly to the clergy, where he began his militancy. After studying Marxist intellectuals, he decided to join the M-19 until 1978, at the age of 18, where he carried out mainly urban integration work and engaged in armed struggle until his disarmament in 1990.

During those 12 years he lived in the “Em” lineage under the name “Aureliano”, “One Hundred Years in Solitude” Three he spent in hiding and the other two in prison. They captured him at Bolivar 83 in 1985, torturing him like many guerrillas at the time, in the famous neighborhood of Zibagra he helped.

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“I did not feel the pain of torture until I was in prison. In the darkest days of my life, I was never physically bent, and although it was difficult psychologically, I somehow felt that my life had changed, “he describes in his autobiography.

Colombia's leftist candidate for the presidency, Gustavo Pedro, speaks as he concludes his campaign at the Central Plaza de Bolivar in Bogot.  (EFE / Carlos Ortega).
Colombia’s leftist candidate for the presidency, Gustavo Pedro, speaks as he concludes his campaign at the Central Plaza de Bolivar in Bogot. (EFE / Carlos Ortega).

One of the darkest chapters of M-19 was the capture of the Palace of Justice, which took Pedro to prison and he was in a very low position in the organization so he could not know much about that attempt. With the army and nearly a hundred casualties.

The most brilliant congressman

Pedro, who aspires to be “his president” in 2022 as he declares at every rally, is far from those years, and his position as a Member of Parliament will certainly give him more weight.. He never felt comfortable with arms, but in words, he defended himself in the House of Representatives and Senate.

There he became the so-called “most brilliant congressman in Colombia” and became famous in the early 2000s for his denunciation of links between politicians and paramilitaries in what was considered “para-political.” Former President Eurip and others were prosecuted.

The first threat to Pedro, among many others to come, is that he is now surrounded by escorts and climbs the stage of one of the nation’s largest security plans, and in 1994 he was deported to Belgium. .

A mural with pictures of Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Pedro and his vice presidential candidate Francia Marquez for the Alliance of the historic treaty in Galle, Galle.  (Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP).
A mural with pictures of Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Pedro and his vice presidential candidate Francia Marquez for the Alliance of the historic treaty in Galle, Galle. (Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP).

Pedro described bitterly his time in Brussels, when he was a fighter on the M-19.

Back in the mayor’s office

In 2011 he was elected mayor of Bogot by the Progressive Organization. “I am a candidate of progressiveism”He often repeats to get out of the “left” box.

Those who have worked with him in the mayor’s office say he is not easy to deal with, that he is not given much in the way of collaborating on a team, and that he will make decisions on his own. This led to numerous resignations and the replacement of more than fifty senior managers in four years of management.

Because of his fear of conflict, the Attorney General’s Office fired him, and his death was overturned by the U.S. Court of Human Rights for his decisions in the city’s garbage collection administration.

Pedro, married and father of six children with different women, He is coming to a third attempt for the presidency, away from many of his best fellow travelers, without the “revolutionary” ideas he provoked.

During a rally in Medellin, Colombia on May 20, 2022, left-wing presidential candidate Gustavo Pedro was disguised as a bodyguard with a bulletproof vest.  (JOAQUIN SARMIENTO / AFP)
During a rally in Medellin, Colombia on May 20, 2022, left-wing presidential candidate Gustavo Pedro was disguised as a bodyguard with a bulletproof vest. (JOAQUIN SARMIENTO / AFP)

He is now doing so, along with a few more pragmatic and less idealistic campaign partners, such as Senator Armando Benedetti, who has crossed many systems across different lines and is now one of those closest to him. With lawyer and Afro activist Francia Marquez, he gathered the discontent of the streets and rescued supporters who were tired of Pedro’s uniqueness.

In 2010, in his first attempt with Polo Democratico, he received just 1.3 million votes, and in 2018, with more than 8 million votes, he was one step away from reaching Gaza Narino. Now, after leaving behind some radical views of the left and wanting to add more traditional forces — the one he has always criticized for their corruption and support — he hopes the third time will be charismatic.

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