By Santiago Gamboa, EL ESPECTADOR, June 26, 2021
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
That’s how a British paper titled an article about Colombia today. That will just be one more uncomfortable story in the international press, except for one detail, and it’s that it’s absolutely true. Colombia is a lump of sugar that melts in water: every day it’s diluted and degraded a little bit more. A year and a half of pandemic, three years of the Duque administration, and 40 continuous days of a National Strike demonstrate that. Here the problems are not solved, but instead put aside and replaced by other problems. Everything that could get worse inevitably does get worse. The social dialog is fractured and the majority of the people now don’t believe in anything. A recent survey could not be more pathetic: the President, with an approval rating of barely 16%. The negative image of the Congress is almost the same as the ELN: 86% versus 88%. The economy is collapsing and the dollar flying high. The murders of social leaders, of demobilized guerrillas, and of civilians in general—including of the demonstrators—unite us in the fear that an enormous portion of the Colombian people feel about the police, making the CIDH report, logically, very negative.
Today, more than ever, Colombia is a failed state: it fails in human rights, in fails in controlling the pandemic and in the speed of vaccination, it fails in the production of coca, it fails in managing the economy. It fails in democracy and in the fight against corruption. We even fell down in football, with Rueda’s strange decision to cut James, the best player this country has had in decades, and the unfortunate injury to Falcao, so that the national team is looking like Cortuluá or even Santa Fe, which is fine for local consumption but not for international competition.
There is no present and the future looks terrifying. How long will this shipwreck last? The quadrennium of Duque, the “Second Foolish Fatherland” in history, has been a mix of bad management, dirty tricks, and failure of leadership; also of bad luck in Covid-19, but the coronavirus happened to every country, and only Colombia is in economic, political, moral, and social bankruptcy.
Duque found a lucky charm in blaming the protests, from those, he went to infinitely delaying the negotiations until the Strike Committee figured out that they were being used as useful idiots and the government’s objective was simply this: that everything would end up rotten and it would justify the disaster of his administration. And they got somewhere with that strategy, because now a part of the public thinks that the country in disaster is exclusively because of the demonstrations. There is hate everywhere. Every Colombian looks like an enemy country.
One consequence of that degradation– or rot—is that from this hatred comes a grotesque personage like Senator Cabal, who justifies the urban paramilitaries in Cali, and thinks she can be a presidential candidate (I proposed that as a caricature in this very column, never imagining it could end up being real). And there is our Keiko and our Marine le Pen, made in Buga. That that woman would think, even remotely, that she could be the president of anything demonstrates the definitive ruin of Colombia. We have fallen into the darkest abyss. As Bryce Echenique said of Perú: “It’s time to sell this great country and buy a smaller one, close to Paris.”
 Anthony McFarlane (2012), “La Nueva Granada, 1810-1815, ‘Patria Boba?’”, Jaume I University, Castellón de la Plana, Spain, December 17, 2008. The “Patria Boba”, or “Foolish Fatherland” refers to governmental difficulties in the early years of Colombia’s independence.