Stratas ‘Like Caste System’

By bogotapost October 9, 2014

Colombia’s formal strata system, originally put in place to determine how much in subsidies low-income households should receive and how much middle and upper-class families should pay for utilities, has led to social exclusion and stigmatization.

This is according to Roberto Lippi, head of the Colombia-based United Nations group UN Habitat. Lippi likened the labelling of groups of people from Strata one to Strata six as a kind of “caste system” that inhibited social mobility.

“The UN Habitat backs the existence of an instrument to apply subsidies for public services – the stratification to establish that whoever has more can subsidize those with less, but therein lies the problem,” Lippi told ADN newspaper in an interview published this week.

“It’s normal to hear people talk about a person who is from this or that strata, as if it were the norm. It’s almost logical to think of them as castes, six immoveable castes,” he was quoted in ADN on Monday as saying.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? The Bogota Post would like to know your opinion on Colombia’s Strata System. Is it a relic of a bygone era, or a way to help low-income families survive? Email us at [email protected] and your perspective could be featured in our next edition.

By Mark Kennedy