Several of the Colombian government’s key allies in Congress have announced their support for the opposition’s motion to censor Agriculture Minister Andres Fernandez Acosta, amid a growing scandal involving possible corruption in granting federal subsidies.
Benedetti said that “to favor those with the most under the excuse of creating jobs” was a strategy that sought to create a presidential candidacy, reports newspaper El Espectador.
“The policy of the Ministry of Agriculture is focused on creating tax exemptions and subsidies for large landowners under the guise of creating more jobs. What is being achieved through these measures is again [the harming of] peasants and laborers, taking away their essence which is land tenure,” Benedetti said.
He went on to say that he disapproved of the policy “distribute and then grow,” explaining that he preferred the policies of the former prime minister of the Uribe government, Gustavo Cano, which were “more equal with the peasant sector.”
Senator Samuel Benjamin Arrieta is in a similar position. Although he does not support the possibility of a censure motion against Fernandez, he reminded the government that in 2007 he had warned of the shortcomings of the program.
At the time of the approval of the Agro Ingreso Seguro project, Arrieta said: “I want to separate myself from the euphoria that has greeted this bill…. I don’t know if it’s an act of law or an act of witchcraft.”
When the motion was passed in 2007, Arrieta was the only Uribista who did not support the government’s initiative.
The Agro Ingreso Seguro subsidies came under fire after weekly Cambio reported that the money, originally meant to create equality in the agricultural sector, ended up in pockets of beauty queens, the wealthy, and families of politicians.