“At this time 10 years ago, I was thinking about this moment," the new president, Juan Linares, spoke enthusiastically before the entire town. “Ten years ago I had nothing, I was living with my parents and I envied my classmates who already had cars and were traveling to other countries.”
President Juan looked at his audience.
“My vacation trip when I was 25 years old was to visit my grandparents with my parents. How embarrassed I was reflecting that time! Believe me that Christmas day I didn't want to leave my room, I was bearded and stinking after two days without a bath.”
The sun was starting to set, a cold December breeze caressed the heads of the voters. The cameras were still rolling on the elegant president. A wiry, but physically fit man with a square face, but well-groomed despite the weather. Some gray was beginning to show in his hair.
“What changed, ladies and gentlemen? What changed was that I got tired of waiting," the president's voice became aggressive. “I got tired of waiting for people to help me, I got tired of people coming to me, I got tired of waiting for results.”
The president took off his tie and raised his arms euphorically. The people cheered loudly.
“A trip, a thought, a few books read can change people's mentality," he swallowed a glass of water and then continued speaking. “But what makes a person change is to move, to make what he thinks come true, not just to think it.”
The president pointed his finger at one of the reporters.
“Do you think a pension will help you when you get old?" the president asked.
The reporter shook his head in fright.
The president pointed to another person, one of the voters, a young businessman.
“Did you ever believe your bosses when you started your business?”
The young businessman shook his head.
“What sets them apart from the workers?" his voice rose into the sky with energy.
“Action!" the people shouted.
“I came as president to change the mentality of my country. Although those who support me are inept. My ministers are corrupt and my assembly is thieves.”
As he said these words, the people froze. At that very moment, those who had spoken the words shifted uncomfortably in their chairs.
“The action that they will not continue to corrupt our rich country is that they will not let them kill me, or remove me from office. You have the power to change, not me, not them. You can take this country far if you put your mind to it.”
People applauded with more energy. Ministers or other politicians started to leave the podium, but the same civilians stopped them.
“Of course, they are my political party” The president smiled elegantly. “But it was never my goal to follow their dirty game. Do you want more pensions that give a pittance? Do you want more useless bonuses that only give you enough for a measly loaf of bread? Do you want to continue without water and electricity?” he slammed his hands against the wood. “Do you want to go on with this inflation?”
The people shouted euphorically.
“I may be a leftist, but believe me, I have read much more to be pigeonholed in that useless category. A cultured person will never be categorized, we are free to choose," he raised his fist and the people shouted like crazy.
“What do you want to be?" the president knew what he was doing.
“To be cultured!" was the expected answer.
Juan Linares had spoken the truth, a truth that had been kept deep in his heart for 10 years. He was fed up with people's ineptitude, with dependence on the government. His greatest wish that Christmas was to change that.
Ministers, deputies, governors, mayors would be changed in weeks. And he knew which candidates to choose. A few would stay in their posts, but the rest would be discreetly eliminated, in the games of power it was not worth having rebels. The most corrupt would be kept as friends but watched. Ten years had been enough for him to know how to play that game of danger well, but it was worth it.
He would eliminate pensions, multiply university scholarships, make discreet awards to those who know how to raise the country economically. He would make every private enterprise self-sustaining. To erase poverty would be his goal, from his experience he knew that it was a difficult task, people depended a lot on what they were given, and to take that away from them would have to be done gradually.
“Today I will not speak of progress, nor empires, not even of enemies. When they were here in the room” the people continued to applaud. “We will talk about how each of you will change from today. We will be the trading country, we will be the bridge to the economic market of the future.”