In June 2023, President Petro declared an economic and social emergency in La Guajira after a week of government in the department – credit Presidency
On June 29, at the close of the week of government from La Guajira, President Gustavo Petro declared an economic and health emergency in that department. Within the arguments presented, he maintained that it was necessary to announce emergency measures to stop the climate crisis and address structural problems such as the lack of drinking water for human consumption.
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From that area, he called on the Constitutional Court to heed this call and approve it taking into account rulings issued by that court, such as ruling T-302 of 2017 that declared the state of affairs unconstitutional in that department.
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“We expect from the Constitutional Court, which has demanded of us, through its rulings and sentences, that we do whatever it takes for the Guajiro population and their girls; your support to move forward with this project that will require quite a bit of public money from the national budget; But what we want to do with love because that is what change is about,” said the president from the extreme north of Colombia.
Despite these arguments presented from the territory and before the Court, there is a probability that the high court will overturn that declaration. On Tuesday, September 26, the Plenary Chamber will study the presentation of Judge Natalia Ángel Cabo to determine whether or not Petro incurred any fault with this announcement ratified on July 2 through decree 1085 signed by her entire cabinet.
In fact, the first item on the agenda for Tuesday the 26th in the Chamber will be the discussion of this declaration and the scenario of annulling it due to possible arbitrariness on the part of the president. Now, regarding the presentation of the Ángel togada, El Espectador indicated that it proposes to endorse the declaration due to a “correct argument” by the Executive to announce special measures in the area.
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Likewise, the text took into account the concept of academics and experts sent to the Court about the priority that La Guajira should have to address the humanitarian crisis and the high risk it has due to the El Niño phenomenon and the possibility of declaring the public calamity.
In that order, the magistrate explained that in that department the existence of a humanitarian crisis is evident due to the impossibility, in many parts, of accessing basic public services (drinking water, electricity and connectivity). This scenario could worsen due to the effects of El Niño, as the Government had also stated in the emergency decrees.
Despite the solid arguments presented by the judge in her presentation, the aforementioned newspaper also learned at first that there are officials who will not approve the draft ruling, but rather could declare Petro’s declaration unenforceable and, to that extent, unconstitutional. With this, they will propose a set time to the national government to maintain the state of exception in La Guajira; This would be approximately one year.
Among the main arguments is the fact that administrative measures cannot be taken unless strictly necessary (as Petro argued before the high court), since this would incur a violation of the separation of powers, since the Executive assigns itself functions of the Judicial Branch.
In that order, the robes questioned whether it is really essential to address with extreme urgency what is happening in La Guajira and the effects of EL Niño in the department; However, the aforementioned newspaper indicated that the magistrates would be concerned about the fact that the Government resolves, with the state of emergency, problems that could be addressed with a public policy.