Monday, July 9, 2012

The Return of uribe (Who Never Really Left)

Ex-Pres. Alvaro Uribe -
a once and future king?
With his creation of a new political coalition, called 'The Pure Democratic Center,' and a social movement called the 'Front Against Terrorism,' as well as the grooming of several possible Uribista presidential candidates, arch-conservative ex-Pres. Alvaro Uribe appears to be positioning himself for another grab at power.

Ironically, current Pres. Juan Manuel Santos, who was Uribe's defense minister, was Uribe's hand-picked succesor. But Uribe has made increasingly obvious via his Twitter account his distaste for Santos' policies, which Uribe believes are enabling the country's Marxist guerrillas to strengthen themselves.

Pres. Juan Manuel Santos
But Santos appears to be planning to run for a second term, and his popularity - 69% percent in a recent poll - means he'll be tough to beat. That is, of course, if the Constitutional Court allows Santos to run to succeed himself, as Uribe did. The court may decide that Uribe's two terms pushed Colombia's democracy too close to the breaking point to risk repeating the experiment. At the same time, it's also unclear whether the Constitution would permit Uribe himself to run for a third, non-consecutive presidential term.

Uribe's formal reentry into politics leaves his former allies, who supported Santos at Uribe's urging, with a tough choice between remaining loyal to Santos or returning to Uribe's fold.

'The return of the living dead,' says this El Tiempo cartoon about Uribe's return. Except that he's been around all the time.
As far as I'm concerned, Uribe had his day and contributed a lot in pulling Colombia back from bhe verge of being a failed state. But his years were marred by huge scandals, including wiretapping and the false positives killings. Santos has achieved major successes against the guerrillas, and hopeful the recent attacks are more of a blip than a trend. In any case, Santos, with his experience and accomplishments as defense minister, should be able to make any needed strategy changes. Returning to a very flawed past would be way too risky for Colombia.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


mauricio forero l said...

I don't know Mike, I don't know...
Spooky, yes spooky, that is the first word that comes to me when I hear his name, or, I see his face. Some times I wonder why, some very short guys like Uribe have this almost dark aura, but he has something that scares me. He should be called the Vladimir Putin of Colombia, he is as scary as the Russian dictator and I believe as determined to stay in power...Yes Miguel this dude is macabre ssssssspooooooookyyyyyy.

Mauricio Forero.

Miguel said...

Hi Mauricio,

I think the Putin comparison is an exaggeration. Uribe certainly hasn't held on to power to the degree Putin has, altho he may have wished to. Neither did Uribe use the authoritarian methods Putin has to repress protests.


mauricio forero l said...

Ok Mike...What about a Mini Putin!!

M. F.

Unknown said...

Hasn´t used the same methods of repression as Uribe has? Ahem!