Juan Manuel Santos sworn in as President for a second term
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was sworn in yesterday for a second term in office which will last until 2018.
During his inaugural speech the President announced that he had three main objectives, a country in total peace, a country with equality and the best educated in Latin America.
In reference to the peace talks with FARC rebels he said “Our first step will be the peace”. Talking about the negotiations he added “We signed the General Agreement for Termination of Conflict, which established the structure and agenda of the process, and NO we have not strayed a single minute from that roadmap. We also reached agreement on three of the five substantive points -development of a comprehensive agrarian programme, political participation and the solution to the problem of illicit drugs, and now move into the fourth: the victims”.
The President went on to say that negotiations were in the final phase, but the victims of the war had to be considered, “But the crucial step is to end the conflict to ensure that THERE ARE NO MORE VICTIMS and their rights can be met in the best way. You have to show real willingness to tell the truth; to clarify what happened and why; participate in the repair processes, and find an acceptable formula to provide justice for the victims and for the Colombian people”.
Referring to recent attacks the President said “The patience of the citizens and the international community is not infinite. Lords of the FARC: be warned!”
Moving on to equality the President said that four years ago he had pledged not to fail the poor. The government was fulfilling its housing policy and creating a new model of health for rural areas. “Our farmers need better public services, more schools, rural water supply and sewage, irrigation districts, good roads to get their products. So we’re going to devote to agriculture the largest investment budget ever allocated to our field” President Santos said.
The President also promised modern highways and the completion of the project to recover the Magdalena River as a major highway for the country. He also re-iterated his pledge to reduce unemployment to ‘single digits’ and to create two and a half million new jobs.
Finally the President listed his wishes for his education policy.
• “It means that all children of Colombia in their infancy receive the best care; regardless of their economic status.
• It means that our teachers are “heroes” of our society.
• It means that our brightest minds stay to study in the country, and the brightest minds in the world compete to study, live and work in Colombia.
• It means that we have centres of technical and technological training of such quality that companies fight for their graduates.
• It means that we create bilingual scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs competing among the best in the world.
• It means a new culture of love and passion for knowledge”.