Rodolfo Hernández, civil engineer, businessman, former mayor of Bucaramanga and today the presidential candidate with the second best chance of reaching to the Palace of Nariño, according to the surveys, he says, in an interview with EL TIEMPO, that two of the first things he is going to do if he comes to power is “take away the checkbook from the thieves” and “put to work justice, which is a laugh”, because “of 100 criminal lawsuits only 3 succeed and 97 go unpunished”.
Who is Rodolfo Hernández?
I was born in Piedecuesta, a small town 18 kilometers from Bucaramanga. I grew up there, I did elementary school in the public school and then high school in Bucaramanga, at the Santander school. Since there was no civil engineering at the Industrial University of Santander, I had to go to Bogotá, because my dream and my desire was to be a civil engineer. I passed among the pack, because, I want to be clear, I was never the best student of anything, I was among the pack, but I was able to study, I didn’t miss a semester and on June 26, 1970 I finished my degree at the National University.
And after this, what happened next?
I went to work in Bucaramanga. I worked for about a year and a half with the official sector, being Governor Jaime Serrano Rueda. When the next governor arrived, he kicked me out because I didn’t agree to disrupt everything we were doing, and start other works that interested the political party to which I belonged. He couldn’t stand it and then he kicked me out. He did me the greatest favor in life.
What favor did he do you?
That I started working on my own, because if you didn’t fire me, suddenly, quite possibly, I would have continued and when you’ve been working for 10 years you want to retire. Yes, he kicked me out like a dog.
And what did he start doing?
I began to do a job that I liked, except that I earned money, which was to house the poor, with characteristics that the competition did not do.
It was to do good equipment, good amenities and with that he sold everything he made. It was awesome. With the accumulation of profits in each small house, multiplied by the number of houses that I built each year, which were 1,500, I began to make capital of a certain importance that today allows us to finance our clients with our own capital for 20 or 25 years. .
And are you still in that business?
Yes, although that is already handled by my wife and children.
You talk about fighting against corruption, but specifically, what do you plan to do?
Take checkbooks from thieves.
And how do you take the checkbook from thieves?
With a decree. An executive decree that must say that as of the date the Executive Secretariat of the National Government or the Presidency of the Republic will only be able to issue the payroll. The rest have to wait for a base of prices, goods and services to be able to continue with the processes.
And How long is that going to take?
It’s a week. In a week we have everything resolved.
Are you going to leave those who steal?
Administrative career employees have certain obligations and commitments. What happens is that there is a majority, clearly not all, who are a gang of thieves; so they act like a mafia. But if you start to pressure, to control, to act, to kick out the thieving people, the others instantly change.
The Colombian State is indebted. What are you going to do with the debt?
Debts must be paid. The only thing these politicians did was a tax reform to steal more.
But what are you going to do with the debt?
We are going to do an analysis of the nation’s ability to pay, without suspending other programs, and if necessary it is renegotiated, that is not nothing happens.
Should the debt be renegotiated?
And lower interest, because many officials took on debts with high interest, because they were going to steal the money. That can be done, that is no mystery, control the money, manage the cash, manage the checkbook well.
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If you are not paying attention to the money, when you realize it, they even charge you.
And what going to do?
The address of the silver is on my behalf. The mechanics of monitoring and transferring is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.
To transfer any resource, it is necessary to have the blessing yours?
No, not needed. It is to be adjusted to the base prices of goods and services, adjusted to the specifications of the products and it can be rotated, that does not have any problem. The point is philosophy.
Let’s change the subject, what is going to happen with the peace accords?
I understand that the State signed a peace agreement with the FARC. That he has difficulties, that he has inaccuracies, that he has everything he has, but he signed it. You can’t sign and then say you don’t comply. Of course that can be reviewed, but the other also reviews, so why spend energy to review something, which is a State agreement and that was accepted in the Constitution. Let me clarify, I am an engineer, I want Colombians to understand, and the fact that I am a candidate for the Presidency does not mean that I have become wise. I am an engineer, I am not a politician. Look at the politicians, those who know all the rules, look at the ‘filthy’ country they have for us.
But now yes, he is involved in politics…
Yes, but I haven’t done that ‘filthy thing’, because I’ve only been four years, I’m a Baby, I’m learning to walk.
Do you feel like the Colombian Trump, as some say?
I don’t know what Colombians say. It’s time to ask them what I look like. What do they feel Trump did and what do they think I am like? It will be because I dye my highlights.
Wait, do you dye your highlights?
Sure, and what does that have to do with it, and I do my nails and get my hair pumped and I take a shower every day and I fix my teeth. I don’t see a problem with that. The rest are criticisms that have no value, they are nosy gossips, lambones.
And what will happen to the subsidies ?
What do I do, do I worry about managing the budget, as I did in Bucaramanga, 70 percent for the poor, but well applied, not to steal money.
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Are you going to give away the money from the State?
Will there be more subsidies?
No, be careful. The National Government in the different social programs uses $ 40 billion. I take all the programs, I check who is targeted, but instead of giving each one $30,000, I make only one transfer per month to the families that are identified in the government databases, which will surely have to be kicked out an in-depth review. And all that bureaucracy is over, because you pay through the Banco Agrario.
If we are in a country with many corrupt people, that means that many could go to jail. What do you propose in prison matters?
The first thing to do is to put justice to work, which is a laugh. Of 100 criminal lawsuits, only 3 prosper and 97 go unpunished. The penitentiary part is the consequence of the action of justice. Then you have to put the judges and the Prosecutor’s Office to work, which lasts seven years making a sum to favor bandits. That has to be finished.
And how would that be?
Confronting them. Telling the judge that he’s been playing the asshole with a sum for three years. Every day I am going to hold a press conference saying you are prevaricating here and I am sure that they are going to move there, because nobody is holding them accountable. You have to put people to work, people don’t work. They don’t give a shit, protected by conventions and unions.
It’s not about ending the unions, but telling them: ‘You can’t keep defending that’.
Where do you get the money to finance a presidential campaign?
From the box of the company.
Are you not receiving donations?
No. When we open the campaign account we are going to call on all Colombians who want to contribute 60,000 pesos, however they want, in one installment, in two or three. But silver, 500 million or 1,000 million, zero, no.
And if the money is not enough?
I put it.
¿ Have you opened the account?
I have not been able to open it, I have not registered and I can only do so when I have the vice-presidential formula.
What’s that about?
I have offered it to several people, but they all say no. This week we are going to start tracking, because if I don’t have it by March 18, I can’t sign up. It can be a man or a woman.
As for women, how much attention do you pay to your mother?
Of course. She said I was a crazy old man. Imagine, 52 years in the sun and water non-stop and after being old, having already harvested, reaping the benefit of the harvest, now you start making that fagot.
And how much attention do you pay to your wife?
I sat down with her , I explained to him that we dedicate ourselves to giving back some of what we have earned, so as not to be selfish with all those people who have helped us. He accepted and is working harder than me.
How much do you plan to spend on this campaign?
I’m going to spend 12 billion on the campaign. That’s what I think.
How’s your date with the Pope going?
I ordered it through the nuncio. He called me on Tuesday for some questions that are being asked at the Vatican Secretariat of State. Quite possibly before the legislative elections they will invite me, but it has to be on a Wednesday. But it is not an audience with the Pope, as Petro said, that is straw, pure lies. Yes, it is a conversation in the residence where the Pope lives in Rome. The Pope’s office is only for heads of state and chancellors; and Gustavo and I are not heads of state, we are idiots who are fighting to see who votes for us.
Yes is elected president, have you defined how your inauguration will be?
I plan to take office in the poorest town in the Pacific or in Piedecuesta. With my mother, my wife, my three children, because the ELN killed my other daughter, and the president of the Senate. And that day we began to save $1,500 million, which is worth the party they have in the Plaza de Bolívar.
How was What about her daughter?
Since 2004 she went with a friend to Ocaña and never came back. They began to call, but since my father had already been kidnapped by the FARC and they kept him for 135 days, they began to extort money from me and then, since it was the second time, I refused and did not pay them. We are doing the process for forced disappearance, because she has been missing for 18 years. Last year the whole family got together, we mourned and we gave the power of attorney to the company’s lawyer to do the legal process for us.