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Colombians hit the streets in support of Petro’s progressive reforms : Peoples Dispatch

On February 14, hundreds of thousands of Colombians took to the streets across the country to express their support for the economic and social reforms promoted by President Gustavo Petro. Photo: Gustavo Petro/Twitter

On Tuesday, February 14, hundreds of thousands of Colombians took to the streets across the country to express their support for the economic and social reforms put forward by President Gustavo Petro as a part of his progressive government’s plans to achieve greater social equity in the country.

In the capital Bogotá, members of various left-wing political parties, popular movements, social organizations, trade unions and citizens in general marched from different parts of the city to the Nariño Presidential Palace and to Bolívar Plaza. The National Prison Movement (MNC) also participated in the mobilization at Bolívar Plaza, demanding solutions to the prison crisis from the Petro government, while expressing their support for its social policies.

Massive rallies in support of the Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez government were also held in Popayán, Cali, Pasto, Cúcuta, Medellín,Villavicencio, Sincelejo, Neiva, Montería, and Bucaramanga, among other major cities.

These mobilizations were called for by President Petro with the purpose of informing the population about the social reforms that will be carried out in 2023 and strengthening support for them, including the health reform that he presented to Congress the day before.

Petro’s health reform is one of the key proposals by his government, which established that health should be a right and not a privilege or a business. The reform seeks to strengthen primary care and disease prevention, increase nationwide access, raise healthcare-sector salaries and fight corruption by eliminating payment intermediaries such as the Health Promotion Entities (EPS).

Health Minister Carolina Corcho, on Monday, said that with this reform the government seeks to guarantee the fundamental right to health to all citizens without exceptions and/or conditions.

At the same time, President Petro explained that “what we want is for a doctor to be able to attend to the home of a peasant family, no matter how far away it is.” He added that the extra budget required to finance public healthcare will continue to come from taxpayers and the State.

On Tuesday, from the presidential palace, President Petro said that he needs the support of the people to implement social reforms that the opposition rejects. He reiterated that he plans to present reforms on labor and pensions as well as promote programs to guarantee free universal access to university education, and provide subsidies to impoverished families and the poor elderly.

Petro recalled that “change” was the central word of his presidential campaign, and the reason why millions of people voted for him in the 2022 elections. In this regard, he vowed to implement measures to bring about the much-needed social changes in favor of the working class majority of Colombians.

“Change is not possible without the people. What the people elected was not only a person. It was returning power to the people, and that has to be expressed in historical reality, in everyday life,” said Petro.

“What has brought us to this human crisis is an ideology, it is a way of understanding the world, the people, the States, the policies, it is called neoliberalism. Today we know that change means getting out of these fundamentalist ideologies and moving on to build another path. Social welfare is built if we guarantee universal rights,” he added.




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