theweek.com/feature/briefing/1014553/latin-america-leftward-swing

Former left-wing guerilla Gustavo Petro's election as president of Colombia is only the latest example of a progressive wave sweeping Latin America. Here's everything you need to know:

What happened in Colombia?

Senator Gustavo Petro won Colombia's presidential contest on Sunday, becoming the first leftist elected to lead the South American country. Petro defeated businessman and political outsider Rodolfo Hernández, winning about 11.3 million votes to Hernández's 10.6 million.

Petro ran on the call for free higher education, universal healthcare, and an end to new oil exploration. He has also proposed legalizing medicinal marijuana and negotiating with the ELN narco-rebel group as steps toward "peacefully dismantling drug trafficking." Notably, the new president-elect also spent time in prison in the 1980s for his involvement with the M-19 urban guerilla group.

What is the reaction in the United States?

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that President Biden looks forward to working with Petro. The American right was less optimistic: "The election in Colombia of a former narco-terrorist Marxist is troubling and disappointing. The spread of left-wing totalitarian ideology in the Western Hemisphere is a growing threat," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) wrote on Twitter.

Daniel Di Martino, who came to the U.S. from Venezuela in 2016 and founded the anti-socialist Dissident Project, warned Colombians that Petro's election had placed their country on the path to becoming a failed state. "Sell your stuff while things have value, buy tons of non-perishable food if you have to stay, maybe car tires too. Save in U.S. dollars. And leave as soon as you're able," he wrote on Twitter.

W. T. Whitney, writing for CounterPunch, was as exultant as Di Martino was apocalyptic. "The historical significance of this electoral victory in Colombia cannot be overstated," Whitney wrote. "By all accounts, candidates and voters alike...

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