Enzo on Colombia Democracy Promotion

One of my Colombia mentors, let’s call him ‘Enzo’, discusses the electoral situation in Colombia:

Alvaro Uribe Velez is in power because of massive US support to his war initiative called Seguridad Democratica.


One of my Colombia mentors, let’s call him ‘Enzo’, discusses the electoral situation in Colombia:

Alvaro Uribe Velez is in power because of massive US support to his war initiative called Seguridad Democratica.

After 3 years in Government he is seeking re-election (Unconstitutional in Colombia) by reforming the constitution. The reform is under way and has been subject of all kinds of irregularities and corrupt manoeuvres. After being approved in Congress it will go to the Constitutional court, which will likely disapprove it, unless the President manages to buy the favours of the Magistrates.

The country is in a state of permanent campaign The Government uses all government funds to promote itself. For example, the president will be in 3 different cities today, commemorating the 100th anniversary of three Departaments and insisting on the success of his war initiative. This is all business as usual with nothing special. Here comes the good stuff.

Uribe has played the part well for the US as a promoter of an FTA, war and corporate agenda, generating growing resistance from popular sectors. The most inspiring of these processes is the Indigenous initiative from Cauca and the Indigenous and Popular Mandate from Sep 2004 March, as well as the consultation against the FTA in March which has now extended to Universities, rice-growers and a massive popular consultation (15 million) called for next august by trade unions and opposition movements.

Uribe is losing ground and is increasingly perceived as an autocrat and a dictator.

FARC launches a counter offensive and even the military project is under question.

Under these circumstances. DEMOCRACY PROMOTION BEGINS

Former President Cesar Gaviria comes back from Washington. He is formally a Liberal (that is, he belongs to the Liberal Party)

Liberals and Conservatives are in crisis. Uribe did not represent either on his campaign or since. He is trying to establish his own, like ARENA.

Carlos Gaviria, a judge from the left and a senator, launches his presidential campaign supported by Alternativa Democrática. These are a group of 7 Congressmen from diverse movements of the left whose credibility has been on the rise for their honesty in-spite of their extremely reduced minority. Once they launch Gaviria, massive support grows. The National Convention Centre in Bogotá was small for the crowd that gathered to listen to Carlos Gaviria last March. The same has been the case throughout the country. As Gaviria rises, Uribe falls.

Former President Lopez Michelsen, organic to the transnational corporate class, attacks Uribe out of the blue and calls him anti-democratic and dictatorial.

The game begins. Cesar Gaviria is being promoted as a pro-democracy candidate against Uribe. His speeches emulate those of Carlos Gaviria. A clear attempt to co-opt and mobilize discontent against Uribe is being developed by the right. Cesar Gaviria, as you know, is the clearest neoliberal and the closest man to Uribe´s policies. As he attacks the President, he promises to carry on with Democratic Security and free trade.

Carlos Gaviria has the ability to unite the left, BUT there is Polo Democrático. A liberal social democratic party under which Lucho Garzón won the Mayor ship of Bogotá. They look closer to Lula or worse than anyone and have moved to try to gain the perception as liberals so that they can mobilize the favour of the transnational elites.

The left will be decided between Antonio Navarro (who says nothing now against US policies or Globalization) but is a former guerrilla and commander of M-19, and Carlos Gaviria, the real threat to the system

The right has Uribe with US support and Cesar Gaviria, also with US support and pro democracy. Cesar promotes the US agenda and is, no doubt supported from high places. Therefore, both the Government and the opposition are the same. Con cara gano yo, con ello pierdes tu. They win with both and co-opt the opposition and the in satisfaction.

Is Navarro under democracy promotion support?

In other words, there is also a full-blown operation here. The US will not allow their friendliest country to fall under a democratic left. Will the masses be moved to the trap of believing that the establishment through Cesar or Navarro is an opposition to itself? Will people see through this? The best chance is the strengthening of the indigenous and popular movement. Carlos Gaviria has been proclaimed by ACIN in Cauca as their candidate based on a popular program and he is willing to work this project with the base.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.