Echoes of a Revealing Convention

gabriel.jpgBy Gabriel Ángel, FARC-EP

Colombian ex-president and current Senator Alvaro Uribe and his political part Centro Democrático [Democratic Center] have opposed the Colombian Peace Process and its Agreement with the FARC-EP since day one. This far right political force has gathered strength to a point in which their potential to reach the presidency in the 2018 elections is high, something that causes concern among those who push for Peace in Colombia.

The following is an analytic article regarding the convention of the Democratic Center political party held this past month.

The purposes of the Democratic Center were clear after its Convention held on May 6 at the headquarters of the International Charismatic Church in Bogota.

The first of them is that they will work for a single presidential candidacy for 2018. The five pre-candidates presented on that day will each strive to attract one sector of the electorate, while other similar characters will do the same from outside the party.

The idea is to converge in a final coalition, able to add such a number of votes that guarantees a win without discussion in the first round on the basis that by then a single candidacy of its adversaries will not have been consolidated.

This implies getting rid of all those [liberal] rightists that so much mortify Senator Uribe. For him, left and right are categories surpassed, although he does not hesitate to define Angelino Garzon as a political friend of the “democratic left”. It was clear that the presence of this last one will be the oxygen of the pretended pluralism they preach.

The strategic objective of its campaign will be the dismantling of the Peace Agreement signed between the FARC-EP and the Santos Government administration. There is no doubt about this. As many misfortunes and faults as one can imagine will be attributed to the Final Agreement. Adjectives such as evil or terrorist show how small the campaign for No-vote in the plebiscite was in comparison to the escalation of grievances, distortions, falsehoods and manipulations that will now be used.

The Manichaean use of the situation in Venezuela was also part of the repertoire they will continue using. The position of the ultra-right in that regard is clear, total condemnation of the Bolivarian Revolution of Chavez and support to the violent opposition that demands and the departure of President Nicolás Maduro.

Making the so-called castrochavismo a central topic of the presidential debate seeks to generate an insurmountable contradiction between the left that is in solidarity with the Venezuelan people, and parties such as the U or the Liberal, who although sustain their support for the Peace Agreements, don’t hide their animosity toward the president of Venezuela and therefore will be against him.

It was also evident the emphasis of the Democratic Center -with which its conservative friends coincide- of opposing in a radical way the slightest modification of the existing land-use order in the country. Their condemnations on this regard are as revealing as possible. One of them relates to the restitution of land, and another refers to any variation in the property tax regime. Uribe was very precise on this regard:

“… forget the FARC, the Democratic Center will oppose the removal of one millimeter of land from an honorable Colombian” he said in his address to the Convention. A couple days latter he said to Blu Radio: “… is necessary to freeze property tax for four years because the Colombian people are overwhelmed”.

Uribe fears that the victims of paramilitary dispossession achieve a conviction for those who appear currently appear as owners of the lands from which they were displaced by force.

Under this logic it’s understandable why there is such visceral hatred of Uribe’s party and folowers to the implementation of the Final Agreement. He fears that the victims of the paramilitary robbery can obtain the sentencing of those who appear today as current owners of the lands from which they were forcibly taken out of. That would force them to repair the victims, something that they have very well managed to dodge after the entry into force of the Victims and Restitution Law approved in 2011.

In addition, the petty landlords and landowners grouped in that political force were exposed. The Comprehensive Rural Reform developed in point 1 of the Final Agreement contemplates an Agrarian Census that at the same time updates the municipal cadastre throughout the country. With this, it will be known who are the real owners and the extension of their properties, which will force them to pay the fair price of the property tax that they have evaded for years.

His demagogic discourse tries to make people believe that the freezing of this tax will favor the people, when the only beneficiaries will be the large landowners who, by evasion, deprive the municipal public budgets of enormous resources for works of collective benefit. This same applies to their discourse on security, which they define as a democratic value, when in reality they develop it as the tranquility for the richest among the richest in the country.

In the same direction, the promotion of investment and the reduction of taxes are for big capital. Their “democratic pluralism” is pathetic, those who do not agree with their ideas are terrorists or their partners, traitors, and contemptible beings who they wish could be erased from the face of the Earth.

Colombia has been warned of the great threat that looms over all. The ghosts of greed, hatred, violence and fanaticism fly over us hungry for the exclusive benefit of the broken elite; indeed, there is an enormous urgent need for a coalition of progressive forces.