ColombiaOne.comColombia newsColombia Launches Ministry of Equality

Colombia Launches Ministry of Equality


A campaign promise of Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez has been fulfilled: the creation of the Ministry of Equality. The Colombian Vice President will assume the ministerial position in the second most unequal country in Latin America.

With the signing of the decrees by the Colombian President, the establishment of this large portfolio was officially announced amidst opposition criticism. Vice President Márquez, of African descent, will lead the organization responsible for reducing inequalities.

Announcement from La Guajira

The government has announced the launch of the ministry from one of the departments that suffers the most from inequality. La Guajira is home to 20% of the country’s indigenous population and is plagued by ongoing crises that greatly affect the lives of its residents.

Although the Colombian President could not make the announcement from the region due to health reasons and had to travel to Bogotá, the choice of setting is not coincidental. Just a few weeks before the first year of his government is completed, and during the week when he has been leading the country from this department, La Guajira perfectly exemplifies the government’s intentions with this ministry.

Opposition criticism

However, the announcement has already been criticized by the opposition as unnecessary. In the words of Senator María Fernanda Cabal from the Democratic Center party, this ministry will only serve “to increase bureaucracy.”

The criticisms from the Uribe-supporting senator went further, stating, “Administrative disorder under the guise of helping the poor. To multiply poverty, yes, to perpetuate it. Because there is zero entrepreneurship.” These comments have already been criticized by supporters of the measure, who consider it an important first step towards addressing one of the country’s historical challenges.

Functions and organization

In November 2022, President Petro met with the Minister of Equality of Spain, Irene Montero, in Bogotá, where they undoubtedly discussed the experiences that the initiative has had in the European country since its creation. It has had to overcome criticism from the conservative opposition, which, as is happening now in Colombia, does not consider it a priority.

The ministry will have an initial budget of 500 billion pesos (about 120 million dollars), financed by the revenues generated by the tax reform. The work will be directed towards a diverse number of individuals and groups. Women, who represent slightly over half of the population but experience higher unemployment rates, Afro-descendant peoples, raizal blacks, palenqueros, and indigenous communities, farmers who have suffered land dispossession, youth and children, LGBTI population, and people with disabilities are among the prioritized groups.

Attention will also be given to groups such as the elderly, migrant populations, households in poverty, and homeless individuals. All of this will be carried out through the creation of five vice ministers, 20 technical directors, and 32 territorial directors.

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