Colombia is in its third month of protests, not just in the nation’s capital but in most major cities. Mayor Claudia López and her administration have overseen a difficult term that has had to contend with – among other things – a global pandemic. On top of dealing with the daily grind of running a city, Mayor Lopez has had a city-wide protest on her hands that has taken a further toll on the city and its people. We must take her at her word when she says that once things begin to calm down on a social level, can we move forward on a political level.
“Perhaps the most difficult thing just now is that there is no national roundtable,“ commented Mayor López on “Conclusiones“, a talk-show on CNN en Español. “Colombia is a country steeped in a 60-year-old armed conflict. We find ourselves at a momentous crossroads where we can stay put where we are or find a way to escape our bloody history. We have to walk towards peace, that’s why it’s so important to listen.”
Mayor López went on to say that even though the country has a deep desire for change, bold solutions are needed to fit the demands of the people and not halt the economy in the midst of such a crisis.
“If our goal is to lower poverty and generate more employment then we have to be wary of not stopping the economy or radicalising the political situation. As we move forward with re-activation not only will basic income – particularly for women and young people – be recovered, but also taxes collection will be more fruitful," said the Mayor.
Mayor López assured us that under her watch Bogotá is investing in employment, education, emergency employment for young people, support for small businesses, among other initiatives. “What we need here is a social rescue,Bogotá has hundreds of youths who neither study nor work so it’s natural to have some social friction. If we fail to act, we run the risk of allowing these youths to fall through the cracks of society and urge them to take matters into their own hands."
Mayor López re-iterated that radicalisation is not the way to quell social unrest, “instead, by supporting small and medium-sized ventures as we have been doing. These objectives have been met by providing 5,300 scholarships; by adding resources to help subsidize the 50 thousand young people who are in the employ of our small, medium and large companies. Plus, 171 billion pesos have been set aside so that these youths receive cheap credit, without the usual rigamarole. Steps like this ensure the vitality of the micro-businesses and mom-and-pop shops that generate 60% of the employment in Bogotá; and not least of which, steps need to be taken towards a more transparent affirmative action.” These words ring true, historically, women have been marginalised in the labour market and in many cases, they have been reduced to the roll of family care-giver before fulfilling any ambition of a career. Women deserve just as much equality as men receive in the workplace because in most cases, women work tirelessly not only for their own sake, but for those around them. It would be a great injustice if we failed to tend for the women who have always been there for us.