Infobae Colombia makes an x-ray, based on the declarations of the Minister of the Interior, Alfonso Prada, and the senators Iván Cepeda and María José Pizarro, of the achievements that it claims and the difficulties that the Government of the first leftist leader who directs the destiny of Colombians is going through
The 100 days of President Petro: debate of the good, the bad and the ugly. Photo: Infobae.
This November 15 marks the 100th day of Gustavo Petro aspresident of Colombia; 100 days since the left led the nation for the first time; 100 days since, according to several personalities, the economic and social paradigm that had marked the development of the country throughout its republican history changed; these are some of the achievements that the national government claims.
Petro's mandate has been 'sold' to public opinion as the 'Government of change' and, in its quite ambitious agenda, it has brought with it proposals that, almost since August 7, have raised controversy, some of which, however, it has managed to carry out.
The Minister of the Interior, Alfonso Prada, and Senators Iván Cepeda and María José Pizarro , from the Historical Pact, gave Infobae Colombia a vision of what the president and his government team have done as they enter their fourth month in power.
Gustavo Petro, new president of Colombia. Photo: Infobae
President PetroNot only did it manage to achieve majorities in the Congress of the Republic, but, despite unfavorable forecasts, economic alerts and warnings from different sectors, it managed to carry out a tax reform, a project that the previous government did not achieve . With it, the Minister of Finance, José Antonio Ocampo, hopes to raise 20 billion pesos in taxes to finance several of the national government's social programs.
The initiative, say Petro and his Finance Minister, is the most progressive in history and puts Colombians with higher incomes to pay taxes, in order to bring social programs to the least favored; it contemplates higher taxes for the hydrocarbons sector, especially oil, criticized by private companies but supported even by the president of Ecopetrol; In addition, it taxes ultra-processed foods and sugary drinks.
Unthinkably, the Colombian president reached an agreement -considered historic- with the Colombian Federation of Livestock Farmers (Fedegán) to buy three million hectares in order to promote comprehensive rural reform led by the minister of Agriculture, Cecilia López.
One of the milestones of this event is that Petro managed to negotiate with one of his biggest critics before coming to power: José Félix Lafaurie , president of Fedegán and husband of one of his fiercest opponents in the Legislature today, Senator María Fernanda Cabal, of the Democratic Center.
For Senator Iván Cepeda, the fact that this agreement was reached in this government and not in that of Iván Duque, who had a greater ideological affinity with the Lafaurie Cabal, is due to the fact that there is a real desire to support the implementation of the peace agreement with the extinct farc. “I believe that there is a genuine desire to produce changes in the rural world in Colombia. I believe that these changes are convenient, not for this or that sector, but for the country”, the congressman pointed out to this portal.
The head of state has also insisted on fulfilling one of his campaign promises: to return the lands to the victims of the armed conflict using properties seized from drug trafficking; For this reason, he was recently seen in Montería, on the Támesis farm, owned by the Castaño clan. With that property, Petro repaired several families that suffered the scourge of war.
The 'chicharrón' with Venezuela
Perhaps one of The achievements for which the Colombian president, several of his ministers and the majority of his most faithful squires in the Historical Pact, are most “breastfeeling” is having achieved the reopening of the border between Colombia and Venezuela.
In addition, Petro sent Armando Benedetti, who is considered one of its biggest political 'bishops', as Colombian ambassador in Venezuela to resume diplomatic relations between the countries, the same ones that former President Iván Duque refused to restore.
Regardless of the resistance produced by Petro's friendship with the Venezuelan dictator, Nicolás Maduro, there is a consensus that keeping the pass between the two countries closed mainly affected the inhabitants of the border and the economy of the country in general, in addition of generating security and public order problems.
Allowing, legally, the citizens of both countries to begin moving from one side to the other, the reactivation, although still precarious, of trade between the two countries and the announcements by nations to fight against illegality in the region, They have been well received, even by sectors of the opposition.
On October 11, and after Congress let it sink on several occasions in the past, the regional treaty on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribe, better known as the Escazú Agreement, made its way to become a law of the Republic, promoted by the pro-government bench. The president, before leaving for his tour of Egypt, signed what the Colombian legislatures approved in a heated debate. This was a campaign promise that the president kept.
The “blessed” Total Peace
This is an initiative, not yet very well defined, with which the Petro government will seek to disarm rebels, criminals and drug traffickers.< /b> The guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN) is included and, as a bonus of the achievements, it is expected that in the coming weeks the dialogues with this structure will be resumed.
Although there are still many gaps regarding how, when and with whom these processes will be implemented and criticism comes from all sectors (including some who support the Government and do not welcome the inclusion of common criminals and deserters from the previous process of peace in these talks), the Government can score a medal for having obtained the approval in both chambers of the Congress of the Republic of the extension of the so-called Law of Public Order, which gives legal ground to the project of Total Peace, and turns it into a State policy.
However, is it possible that this ambitious initiative will be achieved in four years? Iván Cepeda said this: “I believe that it is possible and I believe that the task will be advanced by a significant percentage. Now, that he can end all those dialogues in agreements or in successful processes of submission to justice, we will see. But here the fundamental thing is that this path is irreversible. In other words, a roadmap has been proposed and we are going to develop it in all its aspects with total determination”.
With the implementation of the Unified Command Posts for Life, installed in several of the most violent municipalities and sectors in Colombia, the national government seeks to listen to the communities and stop the murders of civilians; They have had the presence of several ministers and Petro himself, such as the one from Ituango, Antioquia and, although the assassinations of social leaders continue and conflicts over land tenure and invasions have worsened, these meetings have allowed the Government to reinforce its popular support in the regions.
“We designed, together with the Human Rights platforms and the Congressional Peace Commission, a plan to shock that includes 49 measures that we are implementing in the territory, that has led us to install 177 Unified Command Posts for Life, which in the month of September allowed us to reduce the murder of social leaders by 46% and that in these first 100 days is allowing us to give a very important figure in the reduction of assassinations of ex-combatants who signed the Peace Agreement at 58.4%”, stressed Interior Minister Alfonso Prada.
According to several alternative congressmen, in the General Budget of the Nation, which was recently approved by the Colombian Legislature, the head of State and his ministerial entourage turned “historic” percentages for issues of general interest such as: from 12 to 14 billion for the implementation of the peace agreement and increases of 1.25 billion for education and 2 billion for agriculture.
Petro has also announced as achievements the Elimination of compulsory military service and the transformation of the disputed Mobile Riot Squad (Esmad), although these, like other plans, still have aspects to be defined.
THE PAINFUL ONE
However, it hasn't all been bombastic announcements. Petro's arrival in power has implied substantial changes that would put the country's finances in trouble. Perhaps what is questioned the most about the president is his already very common levity to talk about certain issues through his Twitter account. For this reason, according to various experts, the networks have played a trick on the country.
As never before, without losing focus on the fact that it is a world situation also driven by the war between Russia and Ukraine and the difficult economic situation that a large part of the planet is going through, the Colombian peso has presented devaluations never seen before. Even though the week prior to the writing of this article, the dollar in the coffee nation was trading above 5,000 pesos, it gradually began to decline. This devaluation, according to various sectors of the opposition, is also related to the statements of various ministers and President Petro himself.
For congresswoman María José Pizarro, This is not the case: “We are experiencing the consequences of a war in Europe that is going to have consequences in Latin America. In other words, we cannot associate that the rise of the dollar is closely related to the fact that President Gustavo Petro came to power”, added the leader, who was the one who placed the presidential sash on Petro on the day he was inaugurated.
According to According to the most recent data from Dane, Colombian inflation in October reached 12.2% per annuml, the highest in the last 23 years, and it is possible that the year will end around 13% ; Although, as with the dollar, almost all analysts acknowledge that the figures are driven by an increase in global demand, there is also no doubt thatInternal phenomena such as the rise in fuels, the instability of the dollar itself and the expectations for the creation of new taxes influence the increase in the Consumer Price Index, which affects the pockets of all Colombians, especially of the least favored,that they must reduce, even more, the consumption of basic elements, such as food, due to the increases. Trying to curb inflation without affecting economic growth is one of the most important challenges for the national government.
The minister of Mines and Energies became one of the most well-known figures of the Executive, but not because of his work at the head of one of the most important portfolios of the Government, but, mainly,for his repeated false starts,as they say to their mistakes on social networks and in the press. Her statements, some analysts say, have even caused the dollar to rise in price and the value of Ecopetrol's shares to fall, among other effects.
The official will face a motion to dismiss censorship against her that could distance her from the Executive. However, neither Minister Prada, nor the senators interviewed, consider that this process will prosper against him. “I believe that Irene, as Minister of Mines, has done a great job. She has never told a single lie ”, said the Minister of the Interior. For his part, Senator Iván Cepeda is certain that, since the government has almost all the parties in its coalition, it is unlikely that they will vote to remove Vélez from the portfolio.
“The minister has shown results and has raised positions and debates that I believe are valid and it is not through the motion of censure, but through the argued debate that should be attempted to be disputed”, Senator Cepeda asserted.
Since his arrival as a tenant of the Casa de Nariño, the president has stood up all kinds of people: soldiers, taxi drivers, mayors and governors, and even his own ministers and even the president of France and the leaders who attended the COP 27. This has been the subject of multiple questions, not only from the opposition to his government, but even from several of his allies and political partners
The expenses of the Casa de Nariño< /h2>
This has been one of the issues that has given the most talk since the leader of progressivism in Colombia took over the reins of the country. According to different versions, the Administrative Department of the Presidency (Dapre) used 170 million pesos in expenses that outraged Colombians: televisions costing almost 30 million pesos, goose downs worth more than 8 million,among other appliances. For its part, the inauguration party for Vice President Francia Márquez cost 52 million, which included hiring a chef who earned more than 20 million.
And austerity? This was answered by Iván Cepeda.
“I think there is a lot of entertainment and noise there. The reality is that the Government, and Dr. Lizcano (director of Dapre) have saved 4 billion pesos from the expenses of the Presidency of the Republic. So the other is, simply, in my opinion, a reaction that tries in some way to minimize this important contribution in terms of austerity that the Government has made. The government has been austere and has severely cut the expenses of the Presidency of the Republic,” said the congressman.
Nicolás Maduro: love and hate
The meeting between Petro and the Venezuelan dictator, although it was almost a fact that it would take place after the reestablishment of diplomatic relations,it caused an excessive reaction from various political figures, especially from the national opposition, such as Enrique Gómez, burned at the polls in the presidential elections, and congresswoman María Fernanda Cabal. As well as international figures of different ideological tendencies, including the current director of Human Right Watchs for the Americas, the former representative of the Green Alliance Party Juanita Goebertus, b>who asked the Colombian president to demand from the leader of the Venezuelan regime concrete commitments for democracy in his country.
For the minister Alfonso Prada, who qualified the president Petro as a “democrat”, the Colombian president will support any process where democracy is prioritized. “President Gustavo Petro is a democrat, I am sure he will support democracy here and anywhere in the world”, he told this portal.
Relations with Nicaragua
A harsh controversy erupted against the president after no one from his government was present at a session of the Organization of American States (OAS), where Nicaragua would be tried for human rights violations. The ambassador in charge, Luis Ernesto Vargas, said it was because he had not taken office. He was harshly questioned from all political fronts.
Although President Petro recently accused Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega of wanting to take away the sea from Colombia, he It is true that the official position of the Colombian government on the repeated violations of human rights in the Central American country is still not very clear.
Now, it remains to be seen how the Petro government faces the recession that, most likely, the world will experience. In addition, expectations will fall on the collection of the tax reform. The weight of the left and future presidents of that ideology will fall on Petro, for which the Colombians had been so jealous.