EL TIEMPO, September 15, 2022

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

He has invited the citizens of Colombia to make proposals for the National Development Plan.

The President of the Republic, Gustavo Petro, made his first major address from the Presidential Palace this Wednesday. For more than a month he has been installing his new administration, and in recent weeks he has put forward an agenda for the so-called “change.” This was a point he emphasized during the speech he directed to Colombians.

The head of state began by pointing out that his is an administration of change, chosen by the people. “Thirty days in which we have begun to construct the bases for transforming Colombia into a country of total peace,” he said in a video filmed in the Presidential Palace.

The President announced that, together with his cabinet, “we are beginning to travel around the country, going to places where the government has never gone. We are open to hearing from all of the sectors, from the poorest citizens and the regional authorities, and from the business owners,” he said.

And to do that, he stressed that the doors of the government are wide open, as “this is a government for the people.”

“This Presidency was born of the popular will, and from the popular will, the most important document of this administration will be born: the National Development Plan, the road map that will guide the actions of this administration, our commitments for Colombia in the next four years,” said the President in his address.

To that effect, the President said that “the time has come for us to listen,” to the voice of the country, to the young people, the wise elderly people, the workers, the business owners, the women, the Afro-Colombians, and the indigenous people.”

Therefore, Petro issued an invitation “to participate in the Binding Regional Dialogs,” which, according to him, means “traveling around 50 territories along with officials of different ministries and other government entities, to be able to learn what their needs are.”

The President was emphatic in stating that what he’s looking for is being closer to the communities and hearing what needs they have. “Starting today, you have the floor,” he stressed.

Petro even used his address to announce that the first of these dialogs would be this Friday in Turbaco, Bolívar Department. “It will be an exploratory program, with a methodology defined by the National Planning Department, planned so that administration officials can hear the citizens and take note of their proposals.”

After that, he explained that the initiatives would be analyzed by the cabinet as a group and, finally, would be included as a “Sovereign Mandate of the National Development Plan.”

In other words, the administration’s initiative is centered on hearing proposals from the community in different parts of the country regarding their needs and their projects, for the purpose of including them in the National Development Plan.

“This will be a plan with a regional and territorial character, where the people’s priorities will also be the priorities of the administration. Its North Star and its final objective will be building a climate of total peace, built on the strong bases of social justice, economic justice, and environmental justice. We will build a new country for everybody on these foundations,” he said.

The idea set forth by the President is to listen to communities about the concerns they have on things like access to potable water, energy costs, climate change, security, legal regulations in the countryside, that will lead to total peace and the struggle against hunger, among other things.

“Transforming Colombia into a country with total peace is not a task exclusively for the government nor for the very few. Total peace is a task for everybody. Colombia will not be a society that is passive about historic injustice; all of the citizens must have an active part in the building of a different country. Here we have the opportunity to be part of change,” added the President.

Petro concluded his first address by saying that he hopes to see Colombians participating in these regional dialogs that are needed to transform Colombia into a power for life.

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