If anyone ever had their doubts about El Narco Uribe’s capacity for treachery, get a load of the latest. It looks like his former second-in-command has turned on him…or is it the other way around?
The president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, denounced the attack against him by the Democratic Centre, party of ex-president Álvaro Uribe, which has intensified during his campaign for re-election.
“That Democratic Centre, which at bottom is extremely right-wing, is turning to something I never imagined: some guys with black shirts trying to sabotage my campaign appearances,” said Santos in an interview with the BBC.
He emphasized that “that is a type of neo-Nazism, of neofascism, and all it causes is polarization and hate.”
Santos recalled that in recent legislative elections, “Uribe hoped to win 40% of the Congress. He got 12%.”
Santos said that with this result, Uribe “won’t have the capacity to block any law, not even to veto a policy. They’ll make noise, but it’s all right that they do so, that’s part of democracy. And that they express their opinions through democratic channels.”
Santos explained that along with actions against him during his campaign leading up to the elections on May 25, Uribe’s party are attacking the peace process underway with the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), in Havana, Cuba.
“They are trying to manipulate many sectors, and with lies. With false rumors. For example, they’re telling the military that they will be reduced to their most minimal expression. To the police, they’re saying that their pensions will be taken away and given to the guerrillas,” Santos denounced.
He added that “they’re waging a dirty war. And this is silencing people and doing harm.”
“Neo-Nazi”. “Neofascist”. Those are quite the accusations to hurl against one’s own former colleague. Especially in ultra-conservative, ultra-murderous Colombia, where people have been killed for less. I wouldn’t do it unless I had an army of bodyguards, like Juan Manuel Santos has.
And I very much doubt that he’s doing so lightly. This is not just overblown campaign rhetoric; it’s a bald statement of fact. Uribe’s a dangerous fascist, with his own private army of paramilitaries and mercenaries. He has no qualms about sending them over the border to Venezuela to “assist” the fascists there in trying to topple the Maduro government. And he is secure in the knowledge that no one in Washington, the OAS, the IACHR, or any other body of international law will touch him. After all, he’s been acting with Washington’s blessing ever since his narcotrafficking days, when he was known as “El Doptor Varito”. That was when the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar Gavíria was still alive, and lending Alvarito his private helicoptor to tool around in. At the same time, he was known to the DEA as “Associate 82”. Escobar got killed, but Uribe escaped with his skin intact. Now what do you suppose the odds of that are, unless someone somewhere in the bowels of Washington had decided that Uribe was worth more to them living than dead, and told the DEA to lay off him?
So we can see that Uribe is operating as an untouchable, and there is nothing he won’t do, because there is nothing Washington will do to stop him. Including a dirty war in which literal blackshirts get sent out to sabotage Santos, his former successor and now prime rival, in any way they can. Including all manner of gruesome and quintessentially Colombian intimidation, no doubt.
Meanwhile, I have to say I’ve been watching Santos ever since he took over as president, and been pleasantly surprised by him. He’s been a good neighbor to Venezuela, playing nicely first with Chavecito and now Madurito. He’s been giving off all the right signs and signals, even engaging the FARC and ELN in good faith. The Havana peace talks are still on, despite numerous efforts at sabotage on the part of the far-right (and, no doubt, their Washington puppetmasters).
My only complaint about Santos is that he doesn’t lock Uribe and all his henchmen up, but that only goes to show that Uribe’s power goes a lot further than Colombia, and that he enjoys protection from outside the country. Enough that even the current president, who ought to have all the power at his disposal, and who could send in the troops on him at any time, is instead limited to denouncing him before the media. And no doubt hoping that things don’t get any worse. It’s enough that even dismal election results don’t seem to faze him. And that bodes worrisomely for democracy in Colombia, if indeed it exists there at all.