Interview: Gustavo Petro’s Cabinet Will Be Evaluated for Its Management: Marelen Castillo

LatinAmerican Post spoke with former vice-presidential candidate Marelen Castillo about her political future in the Colombian House of Representatives .

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Photo: TW-CastilloMarelen

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Entrevista: Al gabinete de Gustavo Petro se le evaluará por su gestión: Marelen Castillo

Rodolfo Hernández's vice-presidential formula, Marelen Castillo, is preparing for her new role in Congress. The woman born in Valle del Cauca will assume the seat in the House of Representatives that the opposition statute grants to whoever has finished second in the vice-presidential elections. For his part, Rodolfo Hernández will take his place in the Senate.

LatinAmerican Post interviewed the politician about her projects and the future of the Anti-Corruption Governors League movement.

Also read: What Has Gustavo Petro Tried To Communicate With His New Cabinet?

LatinAmerican Post: Now comes your term in the House of Representatives. What projects do you have in mind from your seat that you plan to promote and support?

Marelen Castillo: The first thing I have done these 3 weeks is to have all the contextualization and foundation. One knows how Congress works, but that changes when you become a part of it, like me now that I am a representative in the Chamber. I am reading, I have met with many people, already in Congress, I have met with elected (congressmen), with those who are in office and those who are finishing. It is very important for me to create a context and prepare the orientation that we are going to work on.

I was working on the issues of the First Commission, which is the one we go to. In the First Commission, there are 13 issues, I was reviewing which ones we are going to work on. Initially, I have selected 4, it does not mean that I do not do others, but I think we can work on statutory laws; strategies, and policies for peace; intellectual property; and those is related to ethnic affairs. Checking that those 4 are of interest to me, but we are also going to work with Engineer Rodolfo Hernández to see how he is going to work from the Senate and from the House.

LP: You very well explain to us that you don't renounce the rest of the topics, there are 4 that call your attention. If you had to choose one or two themes or flags by which your work is evaluated, what would they be?

MC: There are some proposals that stayed, that were presented and stayed. There are some that are good and interesting, so I picked up and am analyzing those proposals. So I have met with my elected colleagues who have already been preparing since before, there are 3 parts. See what was being worked on and some congressmen have already told me that there are several interesting projects. I am also speaking with a colleague in the Chamber, who has formulated 4 bills. And those who have to formulate.

My flag is education. When one speaks of strategies and policies for peace, the work is in the regions, working on the trends in the world today that are those learning routes and itineraries, how we can work on them, aligned with entrepreneurship and employability. If you look at that part, it goes hand in hand with ethnic and regional issues. How to strengthen education in the regions.

LP: There are controversial and popular issues that have remained in past legislatures. For example, the reduction of the salary of congressmen. Will you support these kinds of austerity initiatives?

MC: I am analyzing those proposals. So, say today what our position will be (together with the Engineer) if they are taken or not. It is clear that our position will always be to end corruption, to ensure that there is austerity, but to say that we are going to take them up again is an analysis exercise that we are doing today. But we will continue with our anti-corruption flags, and our points of not stealing, not lying, not betraying, and working so that there is no impunity.

LP: The phenomenon caused by Engineer Rodolfo Hernández in the last elections left a party already assembled. What is the future of the Anti-Corruption Rulers League?

MC: We are not yet a party. We are still a movement. We are preparing our statutes and with the regulations of having been the second-highest vote in Colombia, we are going to present the statutes, to have legal status and have our party. We have had different meetings, and we have worked to achieve it.

LP: A highly commented topic was the meeting between Rodolfo Hernández and the president-elect Gustavo Petro. What is your position with the new government?

MC: The engineer has already done a Facebook Live where he explained what were the points that he worked with the president-elect. We as a party are looking at that. For us it is important and we have held different meetings during the week. Colombia wants democratic stability, and there is, and there are many factors in common that we have to work on in order to have a party.

This movement is a different phenomenon, in which there was pluralism, when we saw in the second round how to get 10 million 600 thousand votes, that union was sought. We work to see how the League game should be, its principles, and based on a code of ethics. We ourselves want to represent an anti-corruption party. What we are building is important here and the code of ethics is important to comply with our followers throughout Colombia. We will meet with our bases of Rodolfista volunteers in Colombia, to define the orientations of our party.

LP: Many political sectors that ended up supporting Rodolfo Hernández in the second round are worried today, not knowing if you will be in opposition to the new government. Will you be opposition, or independent or are you still thinking about it?

MC: The engineer said: "I am going to accept my seat in the Senate of the Republic. But we have a proposal from a different opposition, not what you are used to." We want to build and contribute to the construction of the country. We will be there if what is projected in closing the social gap for Colombians is fulfilled, generating job opportunities for all, attacking corruption, and achieving efficiency and effectiveness, we will be there. We are going to be supporting the development of the country and those projects that contribute to the development of the country.

LatamPost: Some appointments of the new Government have already been known. How has it seemed to you so far?

MC: I'm waiting. There are already some who have had a career in politics, such as the minister of agriculture. There are others who have experience and professionalism in the area in which they are going to work. But as I always said in the campaign and now, everything is measured by management and management has different perspectives. And that management, which is positive for some, is not for others, but that will be seen later. Once the president takes office, along with his team, on August 7, it will be time to see the management regarding the commitments they made in the campaign.

LP: Finally, I notice that you are very enthusiastic about this new life in electoral politics.

MC: I like it and I have an advantage: I learn very quickly.

LP: So it wouldn't be strange to see her later running for mayor, governor, or the presidency.

MC: We have to wait and see. Little by little a political project is being built.

Marelen Castillo and her presidential formula, Rodolfo Hernández, achieved more than 10,600,000 votes, which makes them the second-highest vote in the history of Colombia, only surpassed by Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez.

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