President Gustavo Petro has assessed his first year in office, taking advantage of the date of August 7th. In Colombia, this day commemorates the Battle of Boyaca, a historic milestone in the country’s independence in 1819. Along with July 20th, it’s a day when Colombians celebrate their sovereignty and also honor the National Army Day. The central event, as tradition dictates, takes place at the Boyaca Bridge and is presided over by the country’s president.
Key Achievements in Various Fields
- Agrarian Reform: Based on land purchase rather than expropriation, this reform is progressing, with the government buying 28,000 hectares of land intended for landless peasants.
- Recognition of Peasants as Subjects of Rights and Special Protection: Over 12 million peasants are provided with enhanced protection to access land, education, healthcare, housing, social security, recreation, credit, and technical and business assistance.
- Guaranteed Income for Families in Extreme Poverty: Transitioning to the Citizens’ Income, dignified income of up to 500,000 pesos is ensured for families in extreme poverty and vulnerability. Almost 7 trillion pesos have been allocated for a total of 3.3 million households.
- Water and Sanitation Projects: Investment of 663 billion pesos, marking a 500% growth, in 87 initiatives. The projects will be carried out in 24 out of the 32 departments.
Education, Housing, and the Amazon
Other notable government actions include:
- Law of Free Tuition in Public Higher Education Institutions: Free undergraduate programs are ensured in public universities in Colombia.
- Launch of PAE+: A program guaranteeing school meals for 600,000 children in 109 municipalities across 17 departments.
- Subsidy “My House Now” for Homeownership: 21,246 subsidies have been assigned, targeted at the most vulnerable families. A total of 62% of these payments have gone to households in vulnerable situations, and 36% to the purchase of Priority Interest Housing (VIP).
- Reduction of Deforestation: A 76% decrease in Amazon deforestation occurred in the first half of 2023. This is the largest reduction in a decade.
- Seizure of 1,500 kg of Cocaine Daily: The security forces have confiscated 554 tons of cocaine in a year.
- President’s Global Environmental Leadership: Signing an agreement with Germany to promote the green hydrogen industry. Agreement with France to advance the proposal of exchanging public debt for climate action in COP28. Colombian presidency of CELAC for 2025. Colombia leads the Amazon agenda.
Finally, the presidency has highlighted some economic successes as well.
- Restoration of Economic and Trade Relations with Venezuela: Reopening the border after 7 years of closure. Today, data indicates an exchange of over $143.8 million.
- Significant Reduction in Unemployment: The employment rate up to May 2023 is 56.8%, with unemployment reduced by 319,000 people.