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THE CURRENT president of Colombia, former guerrilla Gustavo Petro, promised during his campaign that he would not use the figure of expropriation to take over private lands, and even, given the lack of credibility of his words, he went to a public office to register a document in which he promised and signed that, if he won the elections, he would not expropriate lands.
“With forcefulness I sign that my proposal of transformation for this country is not based on nor includes any type of expropriation within the deep respect for the Constitution and the law”, he said in April of this year.
However, after just weeks of having taken office, that document must already be in ashes, because despite Petro’s commitment to respect private property, his government has done absolutely nothing to secure the assets of Colombians.
Yes, technically speaking — only technically speaking — there are still no formal decrees of expropriations, however, there are already proposals by the former guerrilla to drastically increase the taxes of the landholders, and to receive as part of the payment — in case of insolvency — their lands. How convenient is that? We drown agricultural producers with taxes, and when they run out of money, we receive their land in good faith.
But not only that, SEMANA in Colombia, revealed in a report that private land invasions have already begun in the country by citizens who rely on Petro’s words: “to paraphrase the speech of the new president – the land does not belong to those who own it, but to those who need it”.
Reporters of the magazine visited different parts of the country and found that, in the outskirts of Neiva, Huila, in the southwest of Colombia, thousands of followers of the socialist leader took over a private property and founded a settling called Gustavo Petro, in honor of the president of the Republic.
In Cesar, in the northwest of Colombia, at least five large estates were also invaded. Semana reports that “The same is happening in Remedios, northeastern Antioquia. The situation has escalated to such a level of concern that the Ombudsman’s Office made a statement and asked the national government for concrete plans to find a peaceful solution to this situation”.
The owners of the private lands complain about the lack of support from the Government to take action on the matter, since they only issued a message asking for the eviction of part of the invaders within 48 hours, but after more than a week, the illegal invasions continue and the State security forces do nothing about it.
When the invaders were interviewed by Semana, they responded that: “Before becoming president (Gustavo Petro), he said that there were many properties doing nothing, many large farms doing nothing and he said that when he became president he was going to use those lands, either to grow crops or to build houses and he gave himself the opportunity to be here”.
This is how the siege to private property by Gustavo Petro’s socialist government has begun when his administration is just in its first days.
Prior to the elections, the former guerrilla promised to mark the distance from Venezuelan Chavism, however, he has tightened relations with the tyranny of Nicolás Maduro, and little by little he begins to execute the same political and economic program used by the late Hugo Chávez to lead Venezuela to absolute bankruptcy.
Socialists like to repeat every time their model fails: “that was not true socialism”, what makes Colombians think that this time it will be different?
Emmanuel Rincón is a lawyer, writer, novelist and essayist. He has won several international literary awards. He is Editor-at-large at El American // Emmanuel Rincón es abogado, escritor, novelista y ensayista. Ganador de diversos premios literarios internacionales. Es editor-at-large en El American