Colombian Presidential Candidate’s Plan
Gustavo Petro was a candidate in the 2022 Colombian presidential election and a founder and leader of the Colombia Humana (Humane Colombia) party, ultimately winning the presidency. As a former mayor of Bogotá and longtime congressman, Petro advocates against corruption and inequality. Petro ran against 77-year-old Rodolfo Hernández, an independent affiliated with the League of Anti-Corruption Rulers, who has gained notoriety by campaigning through TikTok. Hernández had ambitious plans of tackling governmental corruption in his country. The two went head to head in the final round of the election on Sunday, June 19, which led to Colombia electing Petro as its president. Here is some information about Gustavo Petro as well as the Colombian president’s plan to alleviate poverty in Colombia.

Gustavo Petro’s Career

Gustavo Petro is from the Cordobá region of northern Colombia. In his youth, Petro became a member of M-19 (Movimiento 19 de Abril/April 19 Movement), a now inactive guerilla group known for stealing Simón Bolívar’s sword and kidnapping drug traffickers. In 1981, during his time in M-19, Petro held elected posts. Petro was the Ombudsman of Zipaquira in 1981 and the city’s councilor in 1984. Petro ended up in prison due to his involvement in the group just one year later, although he never met violence and advocated for peace in the organization. In 1991, he ceased participation with the group and became a member of Colombia’s House of Representatives. Petro lost his seat three years later and left the country before returning in 2002.

Petro ran for president of Colombia for the first time in 2010, placing fourth. The candidate achieved electoral success in 2012 when Bogotá elected him their mayor. The candidate succeeded further in the presidential bid in 2018, making it to the second round and surviving an assassination attempt.

Poverty in Colombia

Colombia has had a rocky relationship with poverty levels. The country’s poverty rate lowered by 3.2% from 2020 to 2021, after a 7% increase from 2019 to 2020. Food deficiency and poverty interconnect; Colombia’s poor often has trouble finding nourishment. A lack of peace and job security also allows for poverty to increase.

Poverty in Colombia is typically caused by poor infrastructure and authority while demands for better living conditions are often left unanswered. Additionally, the war in Ukraine has led to inflation and more poverty in the South American nation.

The Colombian President’s Plan

Gustavo Petro has many ambitious plans for his country’s potential future. The Colombian president’s plan to alleviate poverty involves expanding social programs and guaranteeing work and a basic income. Petro believes Colombia can prosper without reliance on oil and have a production-based economic structure. He believes that raising taxes on Colombia’s wealthy and printing money can fund anti-poverty programs. Petro likely received political support from citizens who were dissatisfied with former president Iván Duque’s policies, in addition to poverty and the wealth gap.

Regardless of whether Petro comes out of the 2022 Colombian election victorious or not, he and other individuals with his poverty-combatting ideals have the potential to lead Colombia to a brighter future.

Sophie Buibas
Photo: Flickr

Angelina Jolie
Unlike her character as a bad girl in Tomb Raider or as a vengeful Maleficent, Angelina Jolie has a soft spot when it involves philanthropy work. The American actress has a long record of helping communities globally. Although a mother of six, Jolie pauses her mom duties to find time to visit developing countries, improve the lives of refugees, get involved with charitable work, create foundations and fund schools in other countries. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and is serving as the co-chair of the Educational Partnership for Children of Conflict.

Angelina Jolie, Goodwill Ambassador

Jolie uses her role as a Goodwill Ambassador to advocate for those who are no longer safe in their home countries. Most recently, Jolie has traveled to Peru and Colombia to visit Venezuelan refugees. During her trip to Peru, she spent two days in Lima at the border where massive groups of refugees enter daily. She spoke with a few refugees to hear stories of what their lives were like before migrating in hopes of a better life and freedom.

Crisis in Venezuela

Nearly 1.3 million Venezuelans are living in Columbia, and Jolie made it her mission to visit a few of them during her trip there. Jolie met with Colombian President Ivan Duque to express concern over the 20,000 Venezuelan children who are at risk of being without basic citizenship. They discussed how children can become nationalized and the importance of international support.

In a statement given at the press conference at the Integrated Assistance Centre, Jolie expresses how serious the influx of refugees affects not only the refugees themselves, but the countries they settle in.“The countries receiving them, like Colombia, are trying to manage an unmanageable situation with insufficient resources,” Jolie said. “This is a life and death situation for millions of Venezuelans. But UNHCR has received only a fraction of the funds it needs, to do even the bare minimum to help them survive.”

Rhoyinga Refugees

In February 2019, Jolie visited Bangladesh for three days to provide help for over 700,000 Rhoyinga refugees who have settled in the country. Jolie expressed concern over the challenges Bangladesh may face as a host country to a great number of refugees. Jolie was especially focused on making sure the refugees were comfortable and content after being forced to leave their home country, Myanmar. “I am here to see what more can be done to ensure Rohingya children can gain an education with recognized qualifications that they need to retain a clear vision for their futures, and, when conditions allow, rebuild their communities in Myanmar,” Jolie said. While there, she also created a new appeal of almost $1 billion dollars to support the rise of refugees.

Angelina Jolie’s fight to improve the lives of refugees dates back to 2002, a year after receiving the role as Goodwill Ambassador for UNHC for Refugees. Her consistent commitment to those who are displaced by force shows she is someone who genuinely cares for the lives of those who are struggling. Angelina Jolie is a prime example of someone using your voice and resources to help those who are in need.

– Jessica Curney

Photo: UNHCR