A Guaranteed Income For The Rich.

Gearóid Ó Loingsigh There exists a programme which theoretically benefits everyone but in reality only benefits a small number of rich people (not even all of them), a selection of criminals and other ne er do wells! "e are not tal#ing about $%&%, but rather a 'olombian government programme called Guaranteed %gricultural (ncome (%() in )panish)! The %() was invented by the &inistry of %griculture in the midst of the debate on the *ree Trade %greement (*T%) with the +nited )tates! ,arious sectors of 'olombian agriculture were considered to be at ris# from the coming into affect of the *T%, chic#en farmers, rice producers and beef producers amongst them! %ll of these sectors are dominated by ma-or companies and large landlords, but the %() was sold on the basis of subisidies to the poor! The *T% never came into force, but the subsidies remained! "ith the passing of time the truth has come to light and it is worse than anyone could have imagined, though one piece by the 'attle and %gricultural )tudy 'entre at the %ndes university (a 'olombian e.uivalent of /xford 0 'ambridge) did point in the right direction! The technical re.uirements, both financial and environmental, of the %() automatically excluded almost all peasants from applying! They had to have sufficient land, which is not easy in a country whose G($( index on land distribution is -ust under 1 (2 being an e.ual distribution and 3 being the most une.ual distribution)! %part from that they had to put forward a balance sheet of the pro-ect signed by a chartered accountant, the ',s of the professionals that would carry out the pro-ect and also prove that the internal rate of return on the investment would be at least 3456 $o peasant could possibly meet these conditions! $ot only that, they had to carry out climate and hydric supply studies on the land, calculate monthy potential evaporation and carry out geotechnical land surveys and agrological soil studies6 The very conditions excluded the peasants, but they were the ones the media and the then &inister *elipe %rias (otherwise #nown as +ribito, as he has modelled himself in a grovenly manner on his boss, even down to the mannerisms)! That the poor would not get the money came as no surprise, except to the gullible! 7owever, the bra8en nature of the handouts to the rich too# more than one abac#! The family of the ban#er )armiento %ngulo (a 'olombian 9oc#erfeller) received almost :4 millon dollars6 They were not alone, other oligarchs such as Lacoutre (:; millon6), ,ives (:<!= millon6) were also included! This being the +ribe regime whose initial social base was the narco>bourgeoisie meant they were also included! (smael ?anto-a who was extradited to the +) for drug traffic#ing received :<=2,222 and even people connected to the paramilitary boss alias &acaco, whose goods are being embargoed by the )tate were able to receive finance from the %()! The scandal has seen calls made for a disciplinary investigation of the ex &inister and the current one! Though, it is not li#ely that it will get very far! "e are still waiting for a whole string of convictions of politicians who conspired in the murder of thousands of

has criticised him and said he should not be their presidential candidate! (t is lost on them that +ribe. if we tot it all up.%T on basic foodstuffs! % recent study by the environmental organisation )emillas has shown that the sugar barons received :=!1 billion dollars between 3BB2 and 422A! &ost of that money goes to a handful of companies in one department! . 'ali and &edellin. landlords.peasants through their membership of the paramilitaries! % far more serious crime whose investigation has dragged on now for four years! @ven the 'onservative ?arty. who they still support. something right wing $G/s li#e G/%L would do well to remember! . it pales into insignificance in comparison to the gombeen version. they haven t a patch on *ianna *ail whcn it comes to corruption! Eespite the truth behind the myths of Latin %merican corruption. it is all small change! The budget for %() next year will only be around :4=2 millon. to which *elipe %rias belongs. ban#ers and drug traffic#ers.alle del 'auca! These schemes show up clearly not -ust the class nature of +ribe s regime based on traditional oligarchs. wondering what it would ta#e to steal :=A billion euros in public money6 7ow do you translate $%&%D *unds for oligarchsD *unds for paramilitariesD @tc! $o matter. around the same figure as the profits in 4221 for the ban#ing sector (the crisis hasn t . plus another :4!A= billion in exemptions for the rich! *rom their vantage point in Cogota. was behind it all! The %() is not the only programme to benefit the rich! Tax exemptions cost the )tate some 4!A= billion dollars. the 'olombian oligarchy must be loo#ing across the atlantic in envy. but also the nature of the regimes that preceded his! The massive sums of money transferred from the poor to the rich. tainted with blood and otherwise can leave no one in any doubt about the thoroughly corrupt nature of the regime! 7owever.uite hit that sector here)! %ll this in a country that levies .

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