‘I promised my dad to work so his ideas wouldn’t be killed with him’

On February 4, the candidate for New Liberalism, Juan Manuel Galán , registered his presidential candidacy in the Registry . Thus, he was officially authorized to participate in the interpartisan consultation of the Centro Esperanza Coalition on March 13.

This is a symbolic event, as it reinforces the rebirth of theNew Liberalism, the political party ofLuis Carlos Galán, who was assassinated in 1989 when he was a candidate presidential campaign.

In an interview with EL TIEMPO, Galán spoke about what is coming for his presidential campaign, what some of his proposals are and what the registration of his candidacy means.

What is coming from today for the campaign?

The official campaign begins where our specific focus, our number one objective is to be able to communicate to Colombians the proposal that we have been building: a program to solve the problems that the country has. We have also adapted as a principle of the campaign and of what the government will be, to tell ourselves the truth as Colombians, to have difficult and painful conversations. Only if we recognize the problems we have and talk about them with the truth, will we be able to face them and solve them. We want and we know that we are capable of winning with the vote and support of the citizens.

Will you accompany the members of the coalition on the tour that begins on the Coast or is it going to continue with the national tour that the New Liberalism has been advancing?

We are going to attend to the tour that is scheduled for the Caribbean coast of the Esperanza Center Coalition. I have proposed within the coalition that it is important to start this tour with a self-critical process, but we have failed. We have focused too much on mechanical discussions and have made public discussions that we should have been able to resolve within the coalition itself so that each one is responsible for the support they decide to receive. If you receive questionable support, you have to respond and face the coalition and the country for that support.

So, we are going to do an exercise, the first in Santa Marta, of a bench, where the members of the coalition answer the difficult questions, the criticisms and the claims of the citizens. We want a second chance for the Centro Esperanza Coalition to show what it is, to be able to consolidate itself as a political option with a vocation for power for Colombians.

You had proposed that only three candidates be presented to the coalition. Finally they ignored him and there will be five. What do you think?

A while ago there were seven of us, now we are at five. This proves that we are doing well, because I believe that the coalition must be consolidated and must be clearer in the proposals that it presents to the Colombian people. We have to be able to debate among ourselves, to contrast ideas, proposals, not be afraid of controversy and confrontation.

It has been a day full of emotions, a very strong day in terms of responsibility because it is a legacy history that I swore to defend. I promised my father the day he was assassinated that I was going to dedicate my life to working so that his ideas would not be assassinated with him. That is what I have dedicated these 32 years to and now with this rebirth of New Liberalism, which cost us 5 years of work, effort, adversity, and obstacles, we have achieved it. We can present Colombia with a party that has a history, a legacy, some principles to defend.

For me it has been a very emotional day. Being surrounded by my family, my children, Manuel and Lucas, who accompanied me to the registration ceremony, thinking of my father, thinking of his example, of his sacrifice, is what motivates me, it is what makes me get up every days with passion, with the desire to continue working, to insist and persevere in this cause that he started forty years ago.

What did you mean when you said in your speech that you don’t want them to have “inherited affection” for you?

That I love myself deserve the credibility, trust, and affection of the Colombian people. I know that the Colombian people – as my father used to say -, when they give love they give it forever, because that is what I have felt in the tours I take throughout the country. An affection and respect for the New Liberalism, but above all for the figure of Luis Carlos Galán. But I think that respect and affection is not only due to his charisma, his speech, the way and strength with which he spoke. I think there is something deeper and that is that my dad spoke the truth, he was sincere. Part of our speech and the fundamental principle that Luis Carlos Galán taught us about how to do politics is to do it with the truth, with sincerity and frankness.

How are you different from Luis Carlos Galán?

The time we have had to live through, but In addition, my father was an extraordinarily committed person to his cause to the point of giving his life for that cause. And that was the example that I received. I think we were both stubborn, my dad was stubborn, he said that what he had learned the most in politics was to be patient and that things take time. I have learned that patience a bit because I waited five years for the new liberalism to be reborn. And that rebirth of the New Liberalism opened the door to the rebirth of other political forces that also disappeared due to the violence.

(Also: ‘I’m not going to ally myself with any corrupt ones’: assured Galán in La Guajira).

I feel his permanent presence in all the acts, in all the decisions I make. I wonder what he would say? What would he think? What advice would he give me?

The fact that we are two people who have different paths, who adopt different paths also differentiates us, my father is Luis Carlos and I am Juan Manuel, but even so, we are both Galán in terms of the ideas and principles that we want to defend in politics.

I always feel his spiritual presence, his permanent presence in all the acts, in all the decisions I make. I wonder what he would say? What would he think? What advice would he give me? or if he would tell me ‘you’re messing it up, don’t do that’. In short, many things. But that for me is a fundamental guide in my life, it always has been.

What would you say to people who You say that you, the Galáns, took over your father’s party?

We grew up in the environment of my father’s electoral campaigns . That was our education and that was our training. We have already had a tour in politics, my brother Carlos Fernando and I have earned a space through work and effort; we have not done business from a privileged position of the State. Some say that we have lived from the State, but what we have done is work for the State.

The path to recover the New Liberalism party was a path that we undertook alone, with some historic members who decided to join us five years ago. So we are not going to deny that we have exercised leadership, but what must be said is that we are using that leadership not to do business or enrich ourselves from privileged positions, but to be a platform for leaderships that would not have the opportunity to reach otherwise to Congress and be a representative party of the forgotten and unrepresented Colombia.

What are the first three changes What would you do if you were elected as President?

The first act of the government will be to decree the economic and social emergency in the country to specifically address the famine crisis, the hunger that Colombia. One out of every two Colombians has difficulty eating. We have to think about those Colombians who are not part of the economy, democratize the Colombian economy, give everyone a share.

The second act of government will be to open a permanent space for social dialogue in our country. The crisis that this government has experienced due to its incompetence is due to the fact that it closed the channels of dialogue and the spaces for agreement with the population. The Government must be able to listen, recognize and respect civil society, businessmen and the different sectors.

And the third is to bet on defending the middle class. They always nail it every 18 months with the tax reforms. We are going to work on a program to collect more taxes from people with higher incomes. Through general taxes, we are going to finance parafiscal and benefit charges that micro, small and medium-sized companies, which are 96 percent of the business and employment fabric in the country, have as a talanquera to be able to hire more labor and formalize the economy.

If he goes to the first round, would he ally himself with a political party outside the coalition? Radical change? Liberal Party?

Well, we are going to summon the bases of those parties. I believe that a great invitation must be made to the liberal base in Colombia, which is the majority in our country but was left an orphan of a party because the Liberal Party failed to interpret it. We in New Liberalism want to tell that liberal base that they have a new home to defend their ideas, to fight for them, to develop territorial leadership.

What do you think about the following topics?

Legalization of drugs as a mechanism to fight drug trafficking: Regulation of all substances so that the state seizes the criminal business of drug trafficking.

Decriminalization of abortion:
Let women lead politics in this sense and let them be sovereign and owners of their bodies because men do not have the right to tell them what to do. We cannot criminalize women for making a painful decision. The State has to guarantee adequate, dignified public health circumstances, so that women who make that decision can make it accompanied by that good quality health system.

Glyphosate fumigation: No, totally and emphatically not, because science and evidence tell us that they are a failure to confront drug trafficking

Dialogue with the Eln: Search and find a methodology, yes, to explore a dialogue that leads to a negotiation and a demobilization and surrender of the Eln’s weapons.

Regain relations with the Venezuela of Nicolás Maduro
: Yes, resume relations from State to State and, above all, have a communication channel and consulates that attend to the population that suffers in the border that are the Colombian-Venezuelans.

(Keep reading: Sergio Fajardo registered his presidential candidacy).