Comments, Globe, In Focus, Latin America

Colombia: between war and peace

Those who believe in the possibilities of peace in Colombia (centre and moderate Left) do not yet offer in their analysis sufficient judgments that satisfy reasonable realism.


  Juan Diego García


Others simply announce an apocalyptic scenario of war and the inevitable return to the armed option as the only effective response to the onslaught of the Right, which, as a whole, openly preaches violence or surreptitiously assumes a barely concealed attitude of tolerance towards its instigators.

There are undoubtedly many reasons to doubt the possibilities of making the peace agreements real because the State lacks the determination to do so, and when has it, it is impotent in the face of the scarcity of the material and human resources necessary to reform the countryside (including the policies regarding illegal crops), to modernise and democratise the political system, to dismantle the paramilitary framework and fulfil the many promises made to guerrillas.

For its part, the ruling class does not show greater interest in complying with the agreement. Its most extreme wing (which has Uribe Vélez as its spokesperson) persists in its traditional strategy of war by all means against those still up in arms and systematic neglect of everything agreed in Havana.

The rest, although they do not openly support the violent exit, do not seem very concerned about the stagnation of the peace agreements; after all, it little affects them that the war continues and they do not clearly see that their “democracy” is too open, giving greater platforms not only to the guerrilla but above all to the popular sectors.

In effect, there is no less risk for the system if someone manages to mobilise that 50% of voters who always abstain and can increase the more than eight million votes the centre and left obtained in the recent presidential elections (against ten million for Iván Duque, current president).

Here it would be possible to produce a result similar to that of Mexico. It is a considerable risk that the ruling class, their associated classes and the embassies in question don’t clearly perceive.

Political reform and the dismantling of paramilitarism could result in an unprecedented popular mobilisation that would end the political monopoly of the Right and open up new avenues to radically change the current order (starting with the neoliberal economic model).

The municipal elections of the coming year could be a test of great relevance for the Left if it manages to formulate a realistic plan, overcome its current divisions, give more effective and unified form to popular organisations and to put forward a group of leaders who can attract sufficient support (especially from central sectors). Achieving peace could be possible if the set of factors that weaken an affected Right of little or no legitimacy can be adequately exploited; a Right which is unable to solve the problems of the majorities and overcome the immense deterioration of the institutions, and that has brute force as its principal source of power.

The country is drowning in corruption, the alarming inadequacy of the justice system and the reigning insecurity that brings suffering into daily life in so many ways and condemns its people to an uncertain future.

Failure to comply with the peace agreement and further restricting the platforms for legal opposition (including the daily assassination of ex-guerrillas and social activists that already number several hundred since the peace agreement was signed) is then an advantageous alternative for the ruling class as a whole and for its foreign allies.

To all this it must be added that Colombia appears as a candidate country to advance military action against Venezuela, with unpredictable consequences.

It is no secret to anyone that after the speeches announcing this intervention to “restore democracy” in Bolivar’s homeland, the strategic interests of the United States and its European Allies for the control of Venezuela’s vast natural resources have surfaced and – in a wider perspective – to compete against China that already stands out as the first competitor of the traditional capitalist powers in the region.  But nothing guarantees a positive outcome for Washington and its allies (the Creole bourgeoisie and the European Union). Will they be willing to bring about a devastating war that leaves Venezuela in conditions similar to Syria, without necessarily ensuring that Maduro is removed from power?

It seems that fortunately there are enough sensible voices that even within the ruling classes this type of commitment is considered a very risky bet, among other reasons because such aggression would leave the Venezuelan government with only two options: surrender (something unlikely) or declare socialism; or rather, another Bay of Pigs…

The sectors that bet not only on breaching the peace agreement but also on further restricting the forums for social and political opposition (the bulk of the ruling class) seem to have the initiative when Duque’s new government is just beginning.

Those who, on the contrary, advocate for a restricted but acceptable democratic order that, above all, is in a position to be extended (fulfilling the peace agreement would be a great step forward in that direction) rely for the moment on the parliamentary game and on the possible good sense of some sectors of the same bourgeoisie.

They rely on the decisive support of the more conscientious and dynamic popular sectors and hope for the support of the sectors of the social and political centre, so that in the next electoral debate of the coming year a social force of sufficient size to stop the deterioration of life in the country and open new horizons can be consolidated.

A few weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of students from public universities, with the clear support of the public (including their peers from private universities), demanded sufficient funding for education, research and science in the streets and squares.

They demanded it because this is an indispensable prerequisite for the nation building Colombia needs, judging by all the assessments of the profound weaknesses of its economic model, the primitive and undemocratic nature of its political system, the deep inequalities of its social order and the loss of identity of national sentiment.

This national identity has been invaded by the worst values of Western culture, by the rubbish and cultural waste that daily invade the media and assault the same classrooms where future generations are being formed.

Movements like that of the students are, undoubtedly, decisive factors to consider so that the forces that back different courses in Colombia stop the advances of the Right.

That is, if Duque decides to take initiatives that distance him from his mentor Uribe Vélez (something so far highly unlikely, based on what is recorded) or if the new president furthers the policies already adopted by his predecessor and talks of peace and democracy, but maintains the war and inequalities, the same ones that are precisely connected with violence.

(Translated by Hannah Phelvin – Email: – Photos: Pixabay

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