The more empowered citizens, the more that can be demanded
Latin America is recognized as a region in which many people vote but few participate. One reason for this is that voting is seen as the only way to influence politics; In the case of Colombia, another reason for this is that the long armed conflict in the territory has greatly affected the political culture of its inhabitants.
Political culture is understood as the citizen presence in public space and in matters of general interest so that, for this to exist, certain conditions are necessary such as trust in institutions, possibilities of dialogue and participation in public affairs, rejection of state and private violence, tolerance, freedom and knowledge of rights and the aspects and channels through which it is possible to participate.
The objective of participation is not only to improve the process of development of public policies in a country, but also to be able to redistribute power to citizens with mechanisms of democracy. For this reason, in this publication we present some of the tools to oversee the public power and to participate in political affairs, which are one of the legitimate ways of exercising social control over the administration.
Other key steps to begin to exercise citizenship are: becoming informed through reliable channels, knowing and not being indifferent to collective problems, respecting plurality, having the will to cooperate with others, developing critical thinking and a commitment to what public.
Citizenship is a practice committed to the public that aims to collaborate with a possible social change and that is consolidated with participation, that is why all the mechanisms and steps outlined above are preconditions for participation, because although in Colombia there is everything a scaffolding that supports various forms of social control, there is a gap between the institutional offer and the reality of access and use of these mechanisms; For this reason, pedagogy in these aspects is fundamental so that there can be real participation within a pluralist democracy. This task is essential because:
The more empowered citizens are, the more can be demanded.