By Germán Uribe
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, a CSN Volunteer Translator)
The time has come to give a “democratic” burial to the “anything goes” of “democratic security”, “investor confidence”, and “social cohesion”.
If Silvio Berlusconi could call me a “hero” the way he recently called Colombian ex-president Alvaro Uribe Vélez, frankly I would feel that that man, dissolute and a neofascist, was trying to do me harm. Indeed! If there are dangerous “encomiums”, how even more dangerous would be the one who collects them with pride. And that is what happened not long ago with Uribe. Of the more than a few decorations, awards, and tributes, all of which came from the extreme right or from those who admired the paramilitaries, the only label missing was “hero” as Berlusconi described him in order to say farewell with all “honors” to his eight disastrous years of government.
But let’s get to the point. Finally, with the change of government this August 7, came the final hour of the era of “the short cut” –the idea that anything can be done, and the method doesn’t matter. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, informed by history, will surely label this era a “long dark night” when in Colombia, between 2001 and 2010, there were more deaths, more bloodshed, more corruption, more fear, less social investment, more riches for the rich and more international isolation than perhaps in any other epoch in our national life.
His last hour has arrived and the time is here for responses to the period in which any difference with the government converted the dissenter, automatically or by an expedited judicial proceeding emanating from the governing Uribism, or by the arrogant speech of Uribe himself, into an insurgent, a conspirator, a bandit, a narcoterrorist and an enemy of the Fatherland. Not an enemy of Uribe or of his government. No. A traitor to the Fatherland, because Uribe was the Fatherland. And if the criticism from the Presidents of Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua or Ecuador, was literally and exclusively of him, he and his courtiers immediately converted them into infamous attacks on “the Colombian people”. Because Uribe was the people. He was all of Colombia: a nation, a government, a people, a destiny.
There arrived at last his final hour, the hour of the Last Rites, Amen to the time to give a “democratic” burial to the “anything goes” of “Democratic Security”, to “investor confidence” and to “social cohesion”, three expressions whose Uribist application can be summed up as
A war without quarter against the FARC-EP, with its purpose and genesis of pure personal vengeance and a certain smell of exclusive attention, such as you find, let’s say, with “room service” in a hotel, for the large landowners’ oligarchy and to the detriment of the safety of citizens in the towns and cities abandoned to common criminals. A war with the following ingredients: a person who preached to the paramilitaries (the same ones that cut people in pieces, along with the displacements, the chain saws and the common graves) a “sermon” called “Why it’s OK to kill communists” was his choice to be Assistant Director of his government’s Organization for Intelligence and State Security, an agency attached to the Executive Office, receiving orders only from the head of state.
This is not now considered to be the neo-liberal economic opening of the Cesar Gaviria Trujillo type. Instead, up front and without shame, it is the delivery of our sovereignty and our riches to foreign capital. Come on over, gentlemen and ask for what you want because what you want is what we will give you. How can we forget your meeting with Carlos Slim, that insatiable octopus of postmodern capitalism, when you offered him, at a moderate price, the chance to pocket Telecom, a gigantic telecommunications business that belongs to all Colombians? Fortunately, the then-Comptroller General of this republic put a stop to that. And according to the society pages, that presidential “gift” was offered while the dessert was being served at a Babylon-like dinner in the Presidential Palace, while a private jet waited with motors running for the distinguished exponent of Forbes Magazine. He only came for a few hours to express his support for the policy of “investor confidence”.
To say today that the famous labor reform, when, to give even more benefits, and more, and more to the business class, which has always rejoiced in having placed and kept him in power, he withdrew from the workers the overtime and night and Sunday extra pay, with the deceit that this would broaden the worker base and create thousands of new jobs that would benefit them. Not one single significant new job was created, but, on the contrary, there has been a deterioration in the quality of life for workers and their families such as has never been seen before. Not to speak of the dozens and dozens of trade unionists who have been murdered during his term of office.
Fortunately Social Cohesion is also over with. It seems like a joke coming from a technocrat, but coming from his mouth, “Social Cohesion” is no more nor less than the up to now unquantified drama experienced by the people, especially Colombia’s farmers, during the eight years of his government. The money that was required for that was divided among the military, so that they could liquidate the FARC, and among the rich so that they would realize the splendor of their gratitude and loyalty.
This is the Uribe that is leaving and this is the battered country that he leaves. More than “disorganized”, as one former Colombian president called him, he was almost morally insolvent and almost not viable socially.
As the International Criminal Court appears now to be looking at Colombia, may God in the same way look upon this mistreated country, and protect us from the possibility that, beginning on August 7, the same Uribe will appear in another’s body.