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Petro to the new Minister of Sports: I see no benefit in establishing this ministry. It seems to me a waste of time

Petro to the new Minister of Sports: I see no benefit in establishing this ministry. It seems to me a waste of time

Gustavo Petro on Tuesday turned the inauguration of three high-ranking officials in his government into an exercise in thinking about power, the efficiency of administration and the lure of corruption as the apple that officials regularly bite into. Anyone else would have resolved the event with a tough rhetoric and moved on to deal with bigger matters, but the president, on occasion, likes to theorize and present the conclusions he has reached after 30 years of public service. First, he questioned the event itself, asking whether it made sense to hold an inauguration at this point in government, which has been in office for just over a year and a half. Laura Sarabia, his right hand, listened intently; Gustavo Bolivar, who took over as director of DPS; The new Legal Secretary of the Presidency, Paula Robledo Silva; And the current Minister of Sports, Luz Cristina López Trijos, who had to stoically endure that Petro questioned the existence of her position.

The president noted that she is the third woman to hold this portfolio since he assumed power. “What I find in the Ministry of Sports that has been criticized is what the Ministry has become. I am not an enemy of that thesis (…). I haven't exactly seen the good in doing this, I can't find it. “It seems like a waste of time to me,” he said on stage. After that, he stated in each letter that the main function of this ministry, which was to finance public works, made it an ideal place for corruption to flourish. “The more bricks are contracted, the more corruption increases. We believe that sport is the playground, the infrastructure, and we are not saying it is not necessary, but it cannot be the priority.”

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The president criticized what it means to host the Pan American Games, which Colombia lost, despite being commissioned, for not making payments on time. He asked whether event managers should pay for travel with escorts and accommodation in five-star hotels. “You don't think about the athletes. You don't see how our athletes will compete or win (…). This is not sport, this is business. The truth is what we do, and the message we sent to the three ministers, and now – and she points to the new minister – is More education, less cement, and providing physical education in all public schools.

The minister appeared, a few meters away from him, with a silent face. It's hard to know what he was thinking. If something gets moved inside, it hides it elegantly. He came to look like a wax statue. Others would have broken out in a cold sweat. The head of state, at this most exciting moment in his career, has no other idea than to be honest in an act that should have been limited to protocol. Petro is susceptible to theses, there is something of a teacher in him. Some consider him an amateur. His work team justifies his delay in appointments with these digressions he engages in with his interlocutors, who may be an African president or a street vendor he passes on the street. This time Petro came out more rudely, without subtlety with his officials.

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