Energetic was the first discussion, 'Literatura Politica' (Politic Literature), of the second day of the academic forum 'Pensando el Siglo XXI', (Thinking the XXI Century); that took place at the Universidad Autónoma del Caribe. With the participation of the former Minister of Agriculture, Cecilia López Montaño, the journalist and writer Gustavo Alvarez Gardeazábal; and with the moderation of the journalist Mike Schmulson.
Contradictory positions were evidenced by these three characters who centered their discussion on the country's agricultural issues, social classes and the concentration of wealth and political power. They agreed that Colombia's grand crisis is a result of lack of leadership.
"Long ago we have had a very big leadership crisis, we have a leadership that does not recognize the country. There is an elite that has given its back to the country," criticized Cecilia Lopez.
Meanwhile, Gardeazábal adhered to the topic by affirming: "The president (Juan Manuel Santos) never goes beyond Anapoima (town outside of Bogotá, the Capital) and when he comes to the Caribbean, he comes disguised in Safari, we agree that the leadership of this country does not recognize our reality."
Faced with this lack of leadership, the former Minister López Montaño, called youth to react, participate and take control of politics. "Youth look the other way', is outrageous that youth despise a profession that should be one of the most beautiful in the world because is meant to serve others. This country has to make a change in the power structure, and we have to stop being individual to begin being citizens. "
However, Gardeazábal didn´t agree, and expressed that politics is the most castrating job in the world, and because of this, there is no motivation for youth to wake up and participate, especially now that the policy is privatized and in the hands of contractors. "Contractors finance mayors, governors, and then charge them with contracts."
Agribusiness and posible solutions
In her intervention, Cecilia Lopez celebrated as an achievement of the peace dialogues in Cuba that they placed in first line the agriculture reform and the Colombian countryside, but she warned that for the past 20 years there has been an agricultural counter reform, as large producers have doubled their land, while small producers have ran out of them.
The Exminister noted that the number of farms of more than a thousand hectares has grown vertically, and that para-militarism has had a lot to do with. She added that, sadly Colombia has the seventh concentration of income in the world and second in Latin America, equivalent to a totally unbalanced distribution.
Regarding this topic, Alvarez Gardeazábal described as a total anachronism the fact that FARC think the solution for this country is with agriculture, because although there is a lot of land, there is no money to produce. "We have not invested in irrigation, we have not invested in roads to take products out, and we have not yet understand that the subsidy should not be given to the last vendor but to the first producer. While this situation stays the same way we will not see real reform, real change in the Colombian countryside. Gaviria changed 12 million of farmers to 12 families that import food. "
He said it is necessary that the State lower the interests of agricultural loans in order to generate sufficient food production for export.
Cecilia Lopez finally confirmed that the future of the world is in the food and agribusiness, but in Colombia despite having everything necessary provided by nature, this natural wealth is also concentrated, and there is no leadership necessary to move the country forward.