This article features commentary on AQ’s Top 5 Urban Visionaries: Jhony Fernando Fernández, and appears in our recent print issue on how to make Latin American cities better places to live and work.
I’ve always believed in reconciliation, and I’ve been working to apply this belief since I became mayor. But what is reconciliation? For me, it’s opportunity. Reconciliation isn’t extending a hand and saying, “Let’s make peace.” Reconciliation is distributing wealth, paying people better, giving them the opportunity to earn a living—that’s reconciliation and it’s what Colombia needs. You’re never going to eliminate the problem of delinquency and crime in Colombia, unless you address it with opportunities and jobs and revenue, and for that we need greater job creation, above all for young people. In Cali, we’re trying to reduce homicides by educating people and giving them opportunities.
Armitage is the mayor of Cali, Colombia