Colombian President Gustavo Petro Monday insisted that people in his country have no rights or freedom when introducing a new set of measures and appointing seven new cabinet ministers. Colombia “is a people without freedom,” Petro argued.
People today have no rights or freedom, Petro said. It is a people who have been condemned to one of the greatest social inequalities on earth, which has led to very many fundamental needs unsatisfied, he went on.
At the swearing-in ceremony of seven new ministers, replacing the group that left the previous week in the first major cabinet crisis, the Colombian president launched a package of social reforms to address this inequality.
The first-ever leftwing ruler of Colombia then went out to the balcony of the Casa de Nariño as people demonstrated during the Labor Day celebrations.
He criticized that, over the past few decades, they tried to build [a consensus] that the best way to guarantee the individual and collective rights of society was to allow public money to be intermediated by businessmen.
The result is that fortunes were accumulated, that there were thefts and ethical disasters around the management of these resources, but there was no increase in quality and coverage to ensure that people's rights are universal, he added. As a consequence, people today have no rights and, if there is no satisfaction of needs, there is no freedom, so Colombia is a people without freedom, said the president.
In this scenario, Petro maintained that a progressive government has to move forward in achieving freedoms and the reforms presented so far show which side the government is on. Hence last week's ministerial crisis.
Petro also defended Monday that ”the Government should work day and night (...) the Administration must be prepared to work 24 hours a day, respecting labor rights and rest, which entails more jobs.
We are not going to pass this Government with the concern that we let time go by, that we did not do what we had to do, he added.
President Petro stressed that the agrarian reform is one of the most important, one of the fundamental policies of social change in Colombia, while he criticized that the national budget does not redistribute wealth, it does not serve for social equity” and, therefore, it also has to be reformed.
The Colombian head of state is due in Madrid Tuesday for a four-day visit during which he will be welcomed by King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
Spain is taking part in the peace talks between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN), which are resuming this week in Havana.