Juan Manuel Santos Takes Office as President of Colombia

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Accompanied by his wife Maria Clemencia Rodriguez and their children Martin, Esteban and Maria Antonia, the President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos was sworn into office on August 7, in a ceremony attended by over 2,000 guests and held in Nuñez Square at the Capitol in Bogota.

In his speech, the reelected Head of State called attention to three main issues on which his government will focus during the 2014-2018 period, including his main objective: to achieve peace with the support of all Colombians. He defended the progress that has been made at the peace negotiations with the FARC in Havana, and the importance of focusing on the victims of the conflict in these negotiations.

Santos said he will seek to make Colombia “a country in total peace, with equality for all, and the most educated in Latin America” by 2025. To achieve this, he will allocate more than 28.9 billion pesos to improve the quality of education in Colombia and make 400,000 college scholarships available to top high school students from the most vulnerable parts of the country.

To achieve equality, the President promised to expand coverage and improve the quality of health services for rural Colombians, providing more resources to rural areas and reducing the gap in relation to the city.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by King Juan Carlos of Spain, who led the Spanish delegation; the presidents of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes; Panama, Juan Carlos Varela; Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto; Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández; Peru, Ollanta Humala; Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina; and Guyana, Donald Ramotar, among others.

Ratification of the Minister of Culture

After four years in the cultural sector, Minister of Culture Mariana Garces Cordoba was reconfirmed in her post by President Juan Manuel Santos for the period 2014-2018. Achievements during her administration include a 92% increase in the budget for the sector; the construction of the 104 libraries and delivery of 10.2 million books; 296 cultural infrastructure works; and restoration of the Teatro Colon in Bogota. In the film industry, she secured approval of the Second Film Law (Law 1556) with a fund of 25 billion pesos to reimburse 40% on film costs and 20% in logistics costs to national and international producers who invest at least $600,000 USD in Colombia and apply for the incentive.

During 2010-2014 accountability sessions, the President highlighted how the new film law has done great work to promote Colombia as a prime location for international productions and to stimulate the audiovisual and tourism sectors in cities where the shooting takes place.