By Edgardo Enrique Salebe M.
El Espectador, September 9, 2019
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
Written in answer to the August 30, 2019 editorial titled “The peace goes forward with those who bet on it”.
The editorial of August 30 refers to the resumption of warfare by a dissident group of the FARC party, a group which is clearly an anachronism that has no sympathy for the whole process of achieving a peace agreement. Nevertheless, the editorial insists that those who continue in the peace process will be protected by an inclusive government. This description is absolute nonsense and contrary to what the Colombian government has been and still is.
Historically, it has been totally the contrary, an exclusionary government, its governing class incapable of integrating and drawing together the population and the territory. It has reduced its capacity to mediate and channel the conflicts and social tensions. What has existed is the absence of an inclusive governing class with a goal of articulating different social interests, and the proof of that is that Colombia is one of the most unequal countries.
Conversely, the editorial points out that, faced with such an announcement of dissidence, the President has an opportunity to unite the country, adopting the peace process as his own and forging ahead with the strengthening of institutions. With regard to that, you have to say that President Duque, from the very day of his inauguration has promised to unite the country, a concern that is called for in the Constitution, as he is the person who symbolizes national unity. But the facts demonstrate the contrary. With his stubborn obsession for objecting to the JEP statute, he divided the Colombians more, besides the fact he won’t quit using language that, instead of summoning reconciliation, frequently emits hatred and rancor, fanning the flames in the case of Venezuela.
With regard to the foregoing, we wonder: how do we go forward in strengthening institutions? We are in the presence of a crisis of institutions and many citizens don’t have confidence in them. All of that is a weakness for a government that cannot even count on an exclusive monopoly on the use of force. That’s why gangs and armed groups exist outside the law, and we have institutions that don’t fully carry out the duties that they were set up to do. So when someone says that Colombia is a more mature democracy with strong institutions, that does not correspond to reality. Rather, what we need is to strengthen democracy and its institutions, but with inclusive leadership.