Far-left former guerrilla member Gustavo Petro, who went to jail on arms charges while he was part of Colombia's violent M-19 militia, was declared the winner in Colombia's presidential election.
His victory Sunday is seen by many Venezuelans, Cubans, and Nicaraguans in the U.S. as the beginning of a dark future for the South American nation.
"What we are writing at this moment is history, a new history for Colombia, for Latin America, for the world," said Petro during his victory speech.
His rosey outlook was not shared by all. "Very dismayed by the results in Colombia. Petro is a thief, a terrorist and a Marxist, an apologist for Castro and Chavez. From congress we will be monitoring your actions to ensure the rights and freedoms of Colombians. God protect my Colombian brothers!" tweeted Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla.
Venezuela's far-left socialist leader Nicolas Maduro tweeted: "I congratulate Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez for their historic victory in the presidential elections in Colombia. The will of the Colombian people, who came out to defend the path of democracy and peace, was heard. New times are in sight for this sister country."
"I express my most fraternal congratulations to Gustavo Petro @petrogustavo for his election as president of Colombia in a historic popular victory. We reiterate willingness to advance in the development of bilateral relations for the well-being of our peoples," tweeted Cuba's communist leader Miguel Diaz-Canel.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also congratulated Petro via Twitter: "Congratulations to the Colombian people for exercising their right to vote and reaffirming the strength of their democracy. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with President-Elect @petrogustavo and building a more democratic and equitable hemisphere."
Petro's presidential inauguration is set for Aug 7.
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