The former senator will face Antonio Navarro in the race to reach the mayor of Bogotá. The results of the survey that will define who will represent the Green Alliance will be announced on April 11. These are his proposals and some of his political strategies.
WEEK: On April 11 we will know who will be the representative of the Green Alliance in this political race. How is that process going to be?
Claudia López:We have already had several meetings with Antonio and with several pollsters. It will be a very broad and representative survey of the entire city, by men and women, by different age groups and on April 11 we will know who won the survey. This is the third time that we are going to compete, so everything is fine, all love, fraternity. Whoever wins will support the other with complete security.
WEEK: Since everything is love and fraternity among you, what are the differences between choosing you or Navarro?
CL: I really have a hard time making that comparison here. There is a lot of affection and a lot of respect. The differences in general terms are obvious because I am a woman, I am 49 years old, I am part of a new generation, I have experience, knowledge, preparation. I also have the energy and the character to correct what goes wrong and the leadership to do what is needed.
WEEK: You had us in suspense for a long time about your candidacy. What was it that led her to take the decision to launch herself as mayor of Bogotá?
CL: I am nothing but a Bogota woman who is more frustrated with the bad direction of the city, who does not sympathize with the quality of wonderful people who live in Bogotá. The taxes we pay are not compatible with the stagnation, the traffic jam, the insecurity, the high cost. We have to move forward to Bogotá united. It hurts me to see the city intoxicated with an air that is killing us. I got tired of the absurd arguments. This is the only city in the world where a mayor says buses are equal to or better than the metro. So it’s fatigue and frustration that drives me to throw myself into town hall. As a friend says: As politicians did not do for citizens, citizens had to do politics.
WEEK: Some people say that if they became an interparty, Hollman Morris would not participate because of the complaints she has received. What do you think?
CL: The Green party since last year made the decision to converge with different social forces. We learned the lesson and we know that we have to unite and not divide and that we are going to go to an interparty. As for Hollman, I’ve known him for many years, he’s been my friend since the Seventh ballot, he’s been a brave journalist. When nobody in this country stopped and denounced paramilitarism he did it in Contravia. So I have for him appreciation. But I also know your wife and children and I also appreciate you. I am very hurt by the situation they are going through and created their mistress as I believe all the women in Colombia who report abuse.The first thing we have said is that one has to be coherent. Then, as a friend, I tell her that politics will always be there. The world is not going to end. I frankly think that it is better for him and his children if he solves that problem first with them , if justice is necessary. The decision taken by Colombia Humana because we respect it and we will see later what happens.
WEEK: Petro said his support for the winner of a possible interparty would be conditioned to build the underground subway. What do you think of this?
CL: I do not accept blackmail or Petro or anyone . Petro is the head of a political force. Your candidate who supports the proposals that Petro says, I belong to a different force called Green Alliance. We have our own program and if we win and compete then they will have to accept our program as it is. No no no. It’s that the paramilitaries and the Uribistas do not blackmail me, much less the friends. We must have a respectful relationship.
WEEK: So what would you do with the subway?
CL: I think it was very irresponsible for Peñalosa to say: “Look, these are the studies of the metro, but as the contradictor political leader proposed, I throw them into the caneca”. That is irresponsibility. It’s a crime. Bogota does not have enough money to allow a mayor to caprice by investing billions of pesos simply because he made them his political contradictor.
I do not like the half-meter of Peñalosa, but if they leave it contracted I do not think of doing the peñalosada to throw it to the caneca because I think the city suffers more. We will try to mitigate the impacts that I think will be very negative especially in the center. But if you do not leave it contracted, my first bet as mayor will be to expand the subway to go from May Day to Suba and Engativá.
WEEK: Another of the works for which people ask is TransMilenio for the Seventh. What would he do with this?
CL: You know that the TransMilenio is co-financed between the National Government and the Government of Bogotá. He was so capricious that the government told him he was not going to put money because it was not a priority. Peñalosa said “it does not matter, I do it and the city puts 100 percent”. With a fraction of the cost of the trunk we can make an exclusive lane for electric buses in such a way that we reduce pollution in the Seventh. That exclusive lane will go from the Codito in the 200 to the center. The Seventh needs arborización, platforms, lighting, but it does not need a backbone and with what we saved there we took the subway to Suba and Engativá.
WEEK: What has the current mayor done, what would he give continuity to?
CL: For example, TransMicable was a great success. It has been a success of Peñalosa to create the Secretariat of Security. There is a reduction in homicides, although we are lost in the robbery.
WEEK: What changes would you see with your town hall?
CL: We must have a serious environmental policy. The main environmental problem today in Bogota is the quality of the air. We are breathing poison. Today, by polluted air, respiratory diseases are dying every year in the capital, 1,967 people. That’s three times more than those who die in homicides by firearm. That’s how serious we are. Such an environmental peak and plate does not help. They are warm water cloths. The first basic solution is to replace the use of diesel with electric, not only in TransMilenio, but trucks and trucks . The second solution is to arbonize Bogotá and pave roads.
WEEK: In terms of security, what would you do?
CL: In security, the first priority is to reduce theft. How? First I tell the police with all the affection with all respect: let’s work hand in hand. I know that being a police officer is very hard and badly paid. We are going to deal with the national government to promote them and pay them better. But, gentlemen of the Police, your job is to capture muggers, rapists and pot traders. His job is not to chase informal workers, nor to those who buy empanadas or to those who recite poems because those kinds of absurd things and abuse of power are what delegitimize the police.The second is to increase the force level and double the number of prosecutors. If the crime does not sleep justice either. Third, we have to duplicate the Immediate Reaction Units. There are only five. It is necessary to happen to 10. That it is not a torment to put a denunciation nor that it is necessary to go to several places. But in one can do all the processing.
WEEK: What are your proposals to reduce youth unemployment and improve higher education?
CL: We are going to create a new educational model in Bogotá: the Bogotá university consortium is going to offer three years of free higher education. The first year will be the last baccalaureate, the second and third year will be at a university. This university consortium, unlike traditional education, will have very good quality teachers but will also have job managers and entrepreneurs who are monitoring the market, what kind of skills and demands there are. Universities should connect young people with the labor market.