Friday, June 2, 2023

Blow after blow to Gustavo Petro in Congress: the extraordinary dangerous power of the Development Plan is hitting him

The controversial extraordinary powers requested by President Gustavo Petro in the Development Plan are uncertain. It’s a blank check in the Government that asked Congress to have power over key issues. The opposition warned that they were excessive and “dictatorial”.

In the discussion this Wednesday, there was already a defeat. Parliamentarians voted to eliminate article 329, which sought the creation of an environmental entity.

On this subject, the Minister of the Environment, Susana Muhamad, defended the approval of this article, but was unsuccessful.

The extraordinary powers would allow the president, for six months, to make decisions without the need to consult or process them by Congress, although he has some restrictions, such as not being able to do so in the case of statutory laws or the creation of taxes. Congress may later review these decisions.

One of those who shouted at the sky at the time was the senator of the Democratic Center Paloma Valencia, who revealed that “The articles include everything from extraordinary powers, new taxes, more tariffs, more bureaucracy, to politicization in the classroom.”

The Senator of the Democratic Center, Ciro Ramírez, who is also a speaker for the National Development Plan, confirmed the elimination of this article, which, according to him, produced more bureaucracy and more waste, creating a new agency for policy on forests and climate action. “The debate should be held in an independent bill and not with extraordinary powers,” he said.

Although the Government achieved important achievements in the National Development Plan, it also had defeats in the debates.

In the Senate, for example, several articles were archived, including the one that intended that government entities accept the recommendations of the Truth Commission. Although the Chamber of Deputies managed to save it at the last minute this Wednesday, in a new debate, in conciliation they will know with certainty what will happen with this initiative.

In addition, the Senate sank article 207 that increased the tax on clean energy (wind and solar from 1% to 6%).

Like article 218 which sought the vertical integration of the electric power sector.

Likewise, article 353 that gave President Gustavo Petro special powers to create the National Digital Security Agency, a type of DAS 2.0, as described by the opposition in the Government.

Senator Paola Holguín said: “There was a lack of conciliation.

On the afternoon of this Wednesday, May 3, the discussion in the plenary session of the Chamber and the Senate of the National Development Plan, which envisages the investment of more than 1.154 billion pesos during the four-year period, advanced.

The new minister enters with a defeat

It is not the first defeat of the Government. Minister Luis Fernando Velasco had to make his debut a few days ago with a denial in Congress of the article that sought to make the country’s entities comply with the recommendations of the truth report prepared by the Truth Commission for several years, which was carried out after . signing of the peace agreement between the government of former president Juan Manuel Santos and Farc.

Velasco defended the article tooth and nail, but was unsuccessful. The majority won and this proposal was removed from the project.

Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco asked the country not to be afraid of the truth.

“With many of you, accompanying or exercising political control, we provide instruments for this country to seek a path that is not war. And as part of the search for these instruments, we created a peace legislature that sought to end the war in Colombia, the war that left wounds and pain. And, somehow, they all told the country ‘we want peace.’ We agreed that there were central elements to making peace,” said Velasco.

A central element of this truth – according to the minister – was gathering a group of citizens who passed through the territories talking to people and maintaining this truth.

“This truth was not kept for revenge, but not to be repeated. In the National Development Plan of a Government that really wants to risk it for the agreements that have already been signed to be implemented. We, with respect, brought the proposal to develop the truth commission in this Development Plan”, he explained.

For him, it is not a good message for the country that a truth commission, “which worked and needed more time to deliver all the truth in Colombia, this Congress removed that possibility.”

The senator assures that congress must respond to all colombians.Congress eliminated several items from the Petro Government’s National Development Plan. – Photo: Courtesy of Roy Barreras Press

He adds: “I ask the senators that, regardless of their ideological vision, we reopen this article and give Colombia the opportunity to know the truth of the conflict.”

Immediately afterwards, in a louder tone, almost shouting, Velasco insisted: “We need not be afraid of the truth. The Government will accept the decision you make in the reopening, because we respect democracy, but the Government cannot decline, when a central element of peace in this country, which you voted for when you were Government, today they want to end it “. Suddenly, some of the senators whistled at the Minister of the Interior.

Senate President Roy Barreras, in a conciliatory mood, asked Congress to vote again, but Velasco was defeated again. Of the 80 senators present, 32 asked to reopen the vote, while 47 opposed. That is, the elimination of the article was firm.

Although Velasco went to the fund, Senator Humberto de la Calle, the chief peace negotiator with the FARC guerrillas, said that he was “deeply sorry” for not agreeing with the Minister of the Interior, but, according to him, it was always clear that The Commission de la Verdad would not have a judicial function and would not make recommendations. “I regret to tell the minister that this origin is different,” he said.

Father francisco de roux president of the truth commission
The article was intended for the Truth Commission’s recommendations to be applied to various government entities.

Article 8 which was eliminated verbatim: “Implementation of the recommendations of the final report of the Commission for the clarification of the truth.” And it was intended that the national entities, on which the recommendations of the report fall, would accept them progressively, according to their viability, skills and capabilities.

In addition, the Administrative Department for the Presidency defines the guidelines, roles and responsibilities of the competent entities.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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