María Fernanda Barreto
Álvaro Uribe Vélez raises the hands of his successors in power (Photo: AFP)
The most violent oligarchy in the continent needs a powerful enemy to impose fear. After the signing of the peace accords with the FARC-EP in 2016, the Colombian state, intoxicated with triumphalism, began to talk about a post-conflict era and joined NATO in 2018. Its advanced accounts were that after that signature it would be able to put an end to any form of popular resistance without repairing the injustices that are at the root of the social and armed conflict.
That triumph would transform the supposed post-conflict into the ideal moment for dispossession that had been limited by the war and would lead the military forces to become agents of imperialist war in the world.
As always, history surprises by its complexity and nothing turned out to be as simple as they had planned. First, because their own determination to announce the end of the main “internal enemy” complicated the justification of state terrorism without which they are incapable of governing. Second, because the people and their social leaders did not surrender despite the genocide and the viciousness with which they have been executed.
They then decided to resume other terrorist practices such as the massacres they have been carrying out even in the middle of Bogotá. They indiscriminately prosecute those who protest, economically corner the working people, let the pandemic run rampant, strengthen the monopoly of the media companies to portray a country that does not actually exist, and yet the Colombian popular struggles, battered and pained by the bloodshed, courageously persist.
To make matters worse, just as Trump did in the United States, Uribe deepened the polarization of the Colombian right wing, which is now sharply divided between Uribistas and non-Uribistas, and this dispute has reached the Military Forces and, of course, the rank and file of their parties.
The drama of not having a sovereign foreign policy
The minimal criterion of reality changed the use of the term “post-conflict” to “post-agreement”, but the challenge was how to continue justifying internal violence, the increasingly public use of Colombia as a US military base, as a beachhead for political, economic and even military aggression against Venezuela, as an agent for the re-launching of the Monroe Doctrine in the region and as a transnational army.
The answer has already been in the headlines of the Colombian media corporations, according to which Colombia is confronted with nothing less than Russia, Cuba and Venezuela, who, according to them, have conspired to intervene, destabilize and place in the presidency a cadre useful to their interests in the elections of 2022. The elaborate fabrication with alleged intelligence documents, which are never made evident, would be laughable if it could not have such terrible consequences.
In principle, the subjugation of Colombian foreign policy to U.S. designs not only leads it to break relations with and attack countries in the region, but also involves Colombia in a conflict between powers. Unlike his allied counterparts, Piñera and Bolsonaro, Duque has initiated diplomatic conflicts with the powerful government of Vladimir Putin, accusing Russian embassy officials of espionage and expelling them from the country.
To the already tired use of the ghost of “Castro Chavism” is now added the accusation against Cuba for refusing to violate the protocols it signed with the Colombian State to host the dialogue table with the ELN, whereby the Duque government gave more arguments to the United States to intensify the criminal blockade against the island and the plot it accuses Venezuela of. Likewise, it takes the powers of the Bolivarian government to fantastic dimensions by assigning to it the responsibility for all the popular protests that took place in the region in the last two years.
The pro-Uribe government is turning the country into the battering ram of the United States against the world, knowing what this has already cost it and what it may still cost the Colombian people, whom it intends to condemn to eternal war within and outside its borders.
2022 Presidential Elections
Since Alvaro Uribe Velez became president of the Republic of Colombia in August 2002, he and his candidates have not left the Casa de Nariño. He first managed to legalize his possibility of immediate reelection with his usual methods that included vote-buying, with which he subsequently won the presidency again in 2006. In 2010, he appointed as his successor his Minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santos, who was elected for two consecutive terms, during which an important rupture occurred between them and the economic and political interests they embody, different but not contradictory. Having learned the lesson, for the following period 2018-2022, Uribe chose someone with less capacity to challenge him than Santos, raising on his shoulders to the presidency Iván Duque, a man practically unknown in Colombian politics until then and whose main talent has been to subordinate himself to the former Colombian president until becoming the weakest image that has occupied the presidency. Briefly, during the last two decades Uribe has occupied or appointed whoever occupies the Casa de Nariño, not only through pressures and irregularities, but his policies became doctrine for a sector of the right wing particularly close to drug trafficking and paramilitarism. It would be a great mistake to deny that he has also had moments of very high popularity.
As soon as Uribism won the 2018 presidential elections, we said that a period of Uribe-less Uribism was beginning and we warned that, if he did not step aside, the United States would end up discarding him as it had done before, for example, with Noriega. But the ego of the former president who believes he is eternal prevented him from doing so and Uribism is at its worst moment, having lost popularity and its legitimacy in the United States is highly questioned, especially because its links with drug trafficking and human rights violations are increasingly difficult to sweep under the carpet, despite the expensive lobbies that his family has paid in the political spheres of the Nrth. The closing of ranks of the governing party, the Democratic Center, with Donald Trump placed it in the worst position before the new president and, although this will not break the fundamental consensuses they have on Colombia, it could imply the support of the White House for whoever assumes the non-Uribista candidacy.
Colombia is a country where de facto powers such as drug trafficking make the Executive Branch a small parcel of real power, however coveted. If there is no radical change, the foreseeable outcome for the presidential elections to come is that Uribismo will eventually lose, but will again try to keep the establishment safe.
This was evident on October 27, 2019 when governorships, mayorships, departmental assemblies, municipal councils and local administrative boards were disputed and the big loser was the Democratic Center, but the winning coalitions were mostly alliances led by the party of former President Santos, the U party, Radical Change, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, in other words, the usual ones.
They are so afraid of allowing any possibility of popular proximity to power that even a man of the center such as Gustavo Petro causes them fear and they are using all their weapons against him and have even begun to assassinate the territorial leadership of his political organization.
The Colombian lobby in the United States will surely focus now on seeking support from the current administration for a coalition of center, center-right and non-Uribista right-wingers that could place in power, for example, someone close to former President Santos such as Senator Roy Barreras.
But Uribism continues in the presidency, concentrating the powers of the State in institutions directed by its acolytes. From there, the government has decided to emulate Trump, beginning a year before, by justifying the obvious defeat it will have in the 2022 presidential elections with yellow headlines in which it accuses Cuba and Venezuela of interfering in that process, with unsubstantiated arguments and fabulous stories in which even the PSUV and the Francisco de Miranda Front are mentioned as operators of the fantastic task.
With this new operation of media and psychological warfare, they not only continue trying to justify their role in the defense of imperialist interests in the region and the whole world, but they also underestimate and criminalize once again the Colombian people and their determined desire to build true Peace.
Translation by Internationalist 360°