HomeWorldPetro to Colombians: today begins our second chance

Petro to Colombians: today begins our second chance

He called on the armed to lay down their arms and accept legal benefits in exchange for peace

Latin American unity, the failure of the fight against drugs, a tax reform focused on social matters and a call to the armed forces to lay down their arms and accept legal benefits in exchange for peace in Colombia, were the central points of the speech of the new Colombian President Gustavo Petro.

Before beginning his words, Petro requested the arrival of the Bolivar's Sword to the investiture ceremony, whose permission had been denied by the outgoing president Iván Duque.

Bolívar's sword at the Possession ceremony, in Bogotá, on August 7, 2022. GUSTAVO PETRO COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE

Second opportunity

The new head of state of Colombia assured Colombians that "today our second chance begins."

“I want to tell all the Colombians and all the Colombians who are listening to me in this Plaza Bolívar, in the surroundings, in all of Colombia and abroad that our second opportunity begins today,” he said with a broken voice.

“We are against all odds, against those who did not want to give up power, but we did it. We made the impossible possible, going around and listening with ideas, with love, with our hearts and brains, from today we begin to work so that more impossibles are possible in Colombia, if we could, we will be able to”, he emphasized.

Peace Agreement

"The effort was worth it and it will be worth it because the time for change has arrived," said the new president, who assured that during his government the Peace Agreement will be fulfilled and the Final Report of the Truth Commission will be known to all Colombians, which narrates what happened in the war.

"Peace is possible if we unleash social dialogue in all the regions of Colombia, to find ourselves in the midst of differences, to express ourselves and be heard, to seek through reason, the common paths of coexistence," he said.

He added that it is society as a whole that must discuss "how not to kill ourselves and how to progress."

Lay down arms

Petro called on "all those armed to lay down their arms in the nebulae of the past" so that "peace is possible."

He also asked them to accept "legal benefits in exchange for peace, in exchange for the definitive non-repetition of violence, to work as owners of a prosperous but legal economy that ends the backwardness of the regions."

Tax reform with social meaning

He pointed out that his government will present to Congress a tax reform focused on social matters to help the most vulnerable population.

He stressed that he proposes a tax reform that generates justice, because -in his opinion- "equality is possible if we are capable of creating wealth for everyone, and if we are capable of distributing it more fairly."

For this reason, he said, we propose an economy based on production, work and knowledge. 

In this sense, he stated that "taking a part of the wealth of the people who have the most and earn the most, to open the doors of education to all children and youth "should not be seen as a punishment or a sacrifice."

For Petro, it is "simply the solidarity payment that someone lucky makes to a society that allows and guarantees fortune."

A more egalitarian Colombia

In his speech, he recalled that "10% of the Colombian population has 70% of the wealth," which he considered "nonsense and amorality."

In this regard, he urged not to naturalize “inequality and poverty. Let's not look the other way, let's not be complicit. With will, redistribution policies and a justice program we are going to make Colombia more equal and with more opportunities”, he added.

Anti-drug fight

The new Colombian president said that the anti-drug policy failed and for this reason he proposed a "strong policy of prevention of consumption in developed societies."

"The war against drugs strengthened the mafias and weakened the States," just as it has led "States to commit crimes, our State has committed crimes," he said.

"The time has come to change the anti-drug policy in the world so that it allows life and does not generate death."

Latin American Unit

He called for unity so that the region is strong in a "complex world."

He affirmed that it is "time to leave behind the blocks, the groups and the ideological differences to work together".

“Let's make that unity that our heroes dreamed of, like Bolívar, San Martín, Artigas, Sucre and O'Higgins, a reality. It is not a utopia nor is it romanticism”, he added, pointing out that the region must unite its “power of knowledge, economy and life”.

He pointed out that work should be done on joint Latin American projects, such as the connection of all electric power networks and so that energy sources are clean.

Guests of honor symbols of change

A fisherman from Tolima, a street sweeper from Medellín, a coffee grower from Caldas, a youth leader from the department of Chocó, a street vendor from the department of Chocó and a silletero from Antioquia sat among the guests at his inauguration, as a symbol of change that begins in that country.

Petro met them on his tour of Colombian territory. As reported by her team, the guests of honor sat together to send a message of unity and equality, refers EFE.

Thousands of attendees at Petro's inauguration. Photo: AFP.

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