Presidential candidates Juan Manuel Santos and Antanas Mockus, who will be the next President.
Colombia is undoubtedly the last great bastion of democracy and freedom of expression in South America.
Santos or Mockus, who will choose the Colombians in the next presidential elections. There is no doubt.
Juan Manuel Santos and President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe
For over 50 years, Colombia has always been a society that respects the constitution. No general has dared to take power by arms. The leftist guerrillas and terrorists are the only people that for 50 years have tried -and failed- in their attempts to besiege Bogotá, overthrowing democracy, taking the “Palacio de Nariño” (House of Government) and thereby subjugate the colombian people . Out of these groups, only the FARC has survived in spite of the military offensive launched by the government of President Alvaro Uribe in the last ten years.
But that’s all this.
It’s easy: We are less than a month before the presidential election in my beloved Colombia and anything can happen in a country full of paradoxes, where the people together can lead to a shoeshine boy to the council of Bogota, this situation has already occurred. Or a sports broadcaster , or what is even more picturesque, to a guerrilla for the Presidency of the Republic. Fortunately, this example of a guerrilla becoming President will not happen in the case of Mr. Gustavo Petro. God favors us.
However, the fate of Colombia could turn 180 degrees and move from right to left of center supported by the checkbook of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who some experts say Chavez is funding the campaign of Antanas Mockus through third parties and discrediting Juan Manuel Santos by calling him a warmonger and bellicose. Santos is the successor to the ideas of current President Alvaro Uribe.
Chavez has used his usual nationalist-socialist discourse skillfully, like Rafael Correa, to disrespect Santos and treat him as a lackey of the empire of the United States since he was minister of defense in President´s Uribe second term. Both – Correa and Chavez- have blamed and demonized Santos for the bombing of Ecuadorian territory “-a half a mile from the border with Colombia- where Correa hid the FARC guerrilla leader (second in charge) , alias Raul Reyes, who was killed along with 15 other guerrillas.
Both, Chavez and Correa, also claim that Santos would be the man to start a war in the region. An opportunistic and absurd thesis. As absurd as thinking that Chavez would leave power after more than 12 years of oppression and lack of freedom. Chavez waited for several years the arrival of this moment in Colombia. With Uribe leaving power soon, and having Antanas Mockus as President of Colombia, which is docile and has a very different profile , the new political scenario would be much easier and simpler to allow the expansion of Chavez´s “Bolivarian” revolution.
A few days ago the polls gave the lead to Mockus, which could be the winner with 37 percent of the vote against a 29 percent for Santos. Since then, the alarms went on throughout Colombia, and the followers and supporters of Uribe have now clear ideas that it will not be easy for Juan Manuel Santos to become the next president …
Fortunately for lovers of democracy in Colombia the voting intention changed again a few days after when Mockus publicly expressed himself as an admirer of Chávez.
Clearly, the math teacher of Ukrainian origin and former rector of the University got into serious trouble with his passionate and sincere statements. And so it is obvious that his aides had to tell him to go out and rectify his sayings to the media. And indeed Mockus did it the next day when he said he used an inappropriate word to refer to Chavez and that the only thing he felt for the Venezuelan president was respect for the fact of having been elected democratically. The tiny detail is becoming a major mistake and again -for the good of Colombia- Mockus has returned to second in the latest polls behind Santos (31% to 34%).
While the difference is not significant that I am an optimist the chances in favor of Santos will grow rapidly because people started to understand that behind Mockus is the number one enemy of Colombia, Hugo Chavez, who seeks to consolidate its economic influence and his Bolivarian revolution by getting a friend and ally who think like him in Colombia.
A month ago, many Mockus followers saw in him the perfect candidate. A man who instead of buying guns to fight the FARC would build schools to provide education to the Colombians. With that election platform, the same one used when he was mayor of Bogota, Mockus won the affection of many Colombians weary of war and the fight against the FARC and drug trafficking. Other points of what had been included in the top of the polls are the subjects of corruption and illegality. Mockus said that he will act within a legal framework to achieve its objectives, referring to the serious scandals that has suffered the government of Uribe in his second term.
These corrupions scandals have been used by their political enemies and now Mockus has really taken advantage of this situation without having lifted a finger for this.
So the colombian society is divided and anything can happen.
Santos is accused of acting illegally when he was minister of defense and Mockus is accused of being an admirer of Chávez.
Ivan Gerardo Cruz,author and Contributor of Bloggers of The Americas
Many does want to forgive Santos for the bombing of Ecuadorian land, when the whole world celebrated the timely death of Raul Reyes, and also want to charge him for the issue of the so called “false positives” (falsos positivos), which is nothing but the dark maneuvres of some military looking for prizes and promotions within the military structure of the army.
I wonder, does anybody believe that Santos ordered the bombing, or that Santos ordered the generals to kill regular people and pass them as guerrillas? Obviously not, and everyone knows that in Colombia. On the contrary, Santos discovered and informed about the false positives for President Uribe, and afterwards Uribe dismissed 25 army soldiers, including three generals.
So that is why I`ll stay with Juan Manuel Santos.