On the occasion of the pandemic, the ensuing lockdowns and the ‘mea culpa’ that many made for the indelible mark that we have been leaving on the planet, the idea-dream spread that when the pandemic was over, human beings would be better.
In the Colombian case in particular, this idea-dream has been widely accepted by optimists, who seem to have forgotten the complexities surrounding the human condition, which, at certain moments, become both vicious and extremely dangerous.
And if those in power decide to act with these two characteristics, any regime become dangerous and ruthless. Just look at what has been happening in Venezuela, Cuba and Colombia. Reviewing what has happened in our country during the degraded internal armed conflict, with its trail of deaths, the millions of displaced people, the hundreds of thousands of disappeared, the tortured and persecuted, as well as the young people murdered by state agents who are part of the so-called “false positives”, it is not difficult to think that something is wrong in Colombian society.
After the Havana peace process led us to believe in the possibility of consolidating a stable and lasting peace, that dream began to fade amidst the systematic assassination of social leaders and former combatants of the now extinct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who gave themselves a second chance by laying down their weapons. The more than 50 massacres that took place in 2021 alone, demonstrate the villainy of the physical and intellectual perpetrators.
All of the above is enough to suggest that something is going on not only within Colombian society, but also within the regime in power.
But there was more: the violent reaction of the Colombian regime to the legitimate mobilisations, due to a growing social and political unrest and a profound rejection of Uribismo (a movement led by former president Álvaro Uribe), particularly among young people.
And then, we see that this vicious aspect of the human condition constitutes an intrinsic value in those who gave the orders to shoot, pursue and kill the marchers, and of course, in those who only carried out the orders without further discussion. “They stopped thinking”, Hannah Arendt would say, when characterising Eichmann and from there, coining the description of the Banality of evil.
Despite the apparent tranquillity in Colombia, the truth is that the tensions are there and all that is missing is to throw a lighted match, so that the “urban war party” once again takes over the streets and floods the communes of cities such as Cali, Medellín and Bogotá with pain.
What is most worrying is that the Colombian government’s sinister and cynical way of proceeding is shared by millions of Colombians, a circumstance that would prove how sick one must be to defend tooth and nail a portion of power, a social and political relationship subject to historical clientelism and corruption, its most visible expression.
For all these reasons, it must be acknowledged that the Colombian regime is frightening, intimidating and shocking [the people]. And perhaps what is most frightening is that if its most prominent members lose power in the 2022 elections, violence will return to the streets and the countryside, because the bad losers will prefer to “make the Republic unliveable” rather than hand over power to a political option that tries to restore decency to the exercise of the public sphere, of politics, but above all, one that boldly seeks to de-privatise the State.
If they lose power in 2022, men like those who were part of the hit squad that assassinated the president of Haiti will surely be ready to generate chaos and assassinate the intruders. The phrase “watch out for 2022” (said by Uribe) can be understood in many ways. And as the current regime terrorises, it may well be a threat.
I only hope not to hear, during and after the coming electoral scenario, an “Ajúa” as an exclamation of a pyrrhic victory, as it would only serve to confirm that there will be no pandemic that will make us overcome that natural avaricious condition of which many seem to be proud these days.