Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Vengeful politicians monkey wrench the peace process in Colombia

By SJ Otto
A peace proposal to end nearly 50 years of fighting between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and its government and military has now been monkey wrenched by a vindictive right-wing hatchet man; former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Uribe organized the “no” vote to try and hold out for jail time and other punishments to the FARC, despite the fact that this deal brought an end to years of senseless bloodshed.
This agreement has been supported by various middle-of-the-road politicians, both at home and across the globe, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The vote was expected to be yes. Most Colombians are tired of the war. This would have brought it all to an end. But as with right-wing politicians across the globe, Including the US Republican Party, the British Tories and the Likud of Israel, winning elections is a fine art and does not depend on popular support. The victory was razor thin, 50.2 percent. That means just 0.2 percent of voters now stand in the way of an institutionalized peace.
Conservative politicians as Uribe have held societies hostage all over the world, in the last 20 years, to policies of never ending war. Peace seems to be an affront to such parties and people. For those who would like to move away from the rigid positions of conservative, mean-spirited, all-for-the-wealthy-only parties these are tough times. Such leaders seem to be masters of manipulating public opinion to get what they want. These politicians are unrelenting in their determination to punish all who would dare to stand up to their militaristic policies.
An interesting issue is that no one is talking about punishment for those responsible for human rights violations on the government’s side, including death squads against leftists.     
According to Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2015: Colombia:”

“Human rights defenders, trade unionists, journalists, indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, and other community activists face death threats and violence. The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos consistently condemns these attacks, but lack of effective investigations means perpetrators are rarely arrested.”

Human Rights Watch takes notes of violations by the guerrillas, but it is clear that right-wing paramilitary groups and the government also violate people’s rights. Does Uribe care about the government side? We can assume he doesn’t. As with all right-wing leaders in Latin America and elsewhere, he seems to believe that only left-wing groups are capable of human rights violations.

The Deal worked out by President Santos was a good one. It is possible that Uribe will not have as much of an impact on the process as he hopes for. But this is a tough time for those trying to find justice through the so called “electoral systems.” For the most part right-wing politicians have refined the art of manipulating elections and deceiving the voters. This is a Triumph of the Swill.

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