Gustavo Petro announced on Thursday that he is integrating Alejandro Gaviria, the former rector of Los Andes, one of Colombia’s most prestigious universities, into his government as Minister of Education. At the start of the election campaign, Petro believed that Gaviria could be a formidable rival who would stand in his way to the presidency. Gaviria’s candidacy, like all those of the Colombian center, was deflated and had little impact. However, his name continues to carry great weight among the country’s intellectuals. His nomination is one more sign of moderation from Petro who, since his election, has deceived his critics by appointing personalities from other political parties, respected for their careers, and not only his former leftist allies.
The announcement represents a break in the intellectual progressive center. Gaviria was a friend of Sergio Fajardo, the center candidate. Both participated in primaries in which Fajardo won. The relationship came out bumpy from this experience. Fajardo said he would never, under any circumstances, support Petro. Four years ago, between Duque and Petro, he announced his white vote. Now, between Petro and real estate businessman Rodolfo Hernández, he has taken the same position. Gaviria, on the other hand, slipped in an interview that Petro was the best option at the moment the country is experiencing. In the second round, after the disastrous result of Fajardo, Gaviria supported the candidacy of the current president-elect. Meanwhile, his old friend even tried to come to an agreement with Rodolfo, who rejected his proposal. Bogotá’s elite have been divided between those who support Fajardo’s ironclad attitude, standing still against a left-wing candidate, and those who see Gaviria as a breaker who takes this elite out of their comfort zone and superiority. morality and exposes it to the same problems as the rest of society.
Alejandro Gaviria will be our new Minister of Education.
Its challenges are to achieve public and free higher education.
Create research-oriented public university centers of excellence
Significantly increase the number of boys and girls in kindergarten
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) July 7, 2022
Gaviria will take care of the education portfolio, its true specialty. During the government of Juan Manuel Santos he was in charge of health, having shown himself to be very well informed due to the opinion pieces he wrote on the subject and a debate he then had in the radio with the former president, Álvaro Uribe. Since then, Gaviria has always appeared closely linked to health issues, even if his real expertise is this role he now assumes. In el momento en el que apoyó a Petro dejó claro que no estaba de acuerdo con la nueva política sanitaria que quiere implementar el presidente, que pasa por acabar con las EPS, como se llaman las empresas intermediarias de salud entre los ciudadanos y los hospitals del Country. Petro ignored him on this issue and put someone who thinks like him in charge of the Ministry of Health.
The manner in which the President announced Gaviria’s appointment betrays the sentiment many of those around President Max have. Below the tweet in which he made the appointment, he put three others in which he developed the task he must complete. This is surely a message for the more left-wing sectors of Petrismo who are not enthusiastic about appointments as conservative – in their opinion – as this one. Petro sets the tone for Gaviria, who is asked to begin the march “towards the knowledge society”, as the president haughtily calls it. Petro thinks Colombia has fallen into the hands of easy money with oil and cocaine and has neglected the intellectual development that allows it to compete in the knowledge society. In a less abstract way, the task of Gaviria is to achieve free public higher education, to develop research in universities and to increase the number of children in preschool to end the non-schooling of minors. .
The elected president, who will take office on August 7, has already laid the first pillars of his government. In economics, he appointed José Antonio Ocampo, a prestigious economist trusted by the main fortunes of the country. The chancellery went to Álvaro Leyva, who comes from the conservative party and has extensive experience in peace negotiation processes. And psychiatrist Carolina Corcho, ecologist Susana Muhamad and economist Cecilia López complete the cabinet. So far, Petro’s movements have been calculated. His intention has been to deactivate anti-Petrism and generate a majority in Congress that approves of his reforms in order to calmly approach the first months of his mandate after a hotly contested election campaign.
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