Petro, in front of the new sports minister: “I don’t see any benefit in creating this ministry, it seems to me like a waste of time”

Gustavo Petro has turned the inauguration of three high-ranking officials in his government this Tuesday into a reflection on power, the efficiency of administration and the temptation of corruption that officials regularly succumb to. Any other person could have resolved this incident with harsh speech and dealt with larger matters, but the President, at times, theorizes and displays the conclusions he has reached after his 30 years of public service. I like it. First, he questioned the event itself, wondering whether there was any point in holding an inauguration at this point in the government, which is just over a year and a half old. Laura Sarabia, his right hand, was listening attentively; Gustavo Bolivar, who took over as director of the DPS; the new Legal Secretary of the Presidency of the Republic, Paula Robledo Silva; And now the Minister of Sports, Luz Cristina López Trejos, who had to disagree with the fact that Petro calls into question the very existence of her post.

The President recalled that she is the third woman to hold the position since he came to power. “I found in the Sports Ministry, the ministry has become the same as it has been criticized. I am not an enemy of that thesis (…). I haven’t really seen the goodness of doing this, I can’t seem to find it. It seems like a waste of time to me,” he said at the lecture. Further, he has said in every letter that the main function of this ministry, financing public works, makes it a ripe place for corruption. “The more bricks and mortar contracts are awarded, the more corruption occurs. We believe that the sports stadium is there, the infrastructure is there, not to say that it is not needed, but it cannot be a priority.”

The President criticized what it meant to host the Pan American Games, which Colombia lost even though they were assigned for not being paid on time. He questioned whether event managers would have to pay for travel with companions and accommodation in five-star hotels. “You don’t think about the athletes. It is not looking at how our athletes will compete or win (…). That’s not a game, that’s a business. The truth is that what we do and the message we have given to the three ministers, now pointing to you – the new minister – is more education, less cement. Physical education should be provided in all public schools.

The minister appeared at a distance of a few meters from him, with a composed expression. It’s hard to know what he was thinking. If there was any commotion inside, he would hide it beautifully. He began to look like a wax statue. Others might have become drenched in cold sweat. The head of state, in what is certainly the most exciting moment of his career, has no other ideas than to be honest in a task that should have been limited to protocol. Petro is inclined towards these theses, there is something of an academician in him. Some people portray him as a hobbyist. His work team justifies delaying appointments by these digressions in which he embarks on a journey with his interlocutors, who may be an African president or a street vendor passing on the street. This time Petro turned out to be more harsh, without dealing with his own officials.

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