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Monday, April 28, 2008


In my interview with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, I asked him five times whether he will run for a third term in office. Five times, he didn't answer.
In my Sunday, April 27 column, I cited the reasons why I think Uribe would make a big mistake by trying to reform the constitution and run for a third term (you can read the column here.) Now, you can read the full transcript of the interview here. What do you think? Do you agree with me, or not?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think is a terrible mistake to seek the third term and another proof that democracy is extremely weak in Latin America. People still don't understand the spirit of democracy and the two terms period.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Tambopaxi said...

Nope, two terms for eight years is enough of any leader, anywhere, in my opinion....

9:48 PM  
Blogger StJacques said...

I think Uribe should begin the process of teaching Colombians how to cultivate a class of leaders who can demonstrate the ability to overcome the burdens of recent Colombian history that plagued his predecessors -- Andrés Pastrana comes immediately to mind -- and who can continue the twin offensives of moving against the FARC and the legal processes of the demobilization of the Paras.

It is less about moving Uribe aside than it is about guaranteeing responsible democratic continuity after he eventually leaves office. Uribe's record is a notable one. Perhaps no other Latin American leader of very recent memory, with the possible exception of Vicente Fox, can claim to have done so much good for his country. Uribe needs to finish the job by training someone to take his place and instill within the Colombian people the knowledge that they must place their trust in the country's democratic institutions, not political personalities.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

from mexico down to patagonia never ever have been democracy, the oligarch the rich, they pass the power from familys to familys, the vote is a fraudulent mean for this oligarch to do as they please like abuse misery terror against the people but they called democracy and when this people react against this abuses they are called comunist and put in jail or assassin this are the latin countrys and presidente of colombia like el godofuribestia ALVERO URIBE VELEZ .....

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Blogger KELSO'S NUTS said...

Uribe has not been a terrible president of Colombia (for a Conservative, of course). In fact, he's been a nice surprise in a lot of ways. His problem has not been his governing style so much as that every move to join Colombia to the emerging self-governing Latino Center-left has been met with strong opposition from the US.

What could Uribe do? Colombia has many of the qualities of a mini-Israel. It receives the 2nd most US aid after Israel. While it's government in the times of Pastrana and Uribe have been favored sons of the US (less so in times of Gaviria and Samper), the Colombian PEOPLE as with the Israeli PEOPLE are not into the civil war and want PEACE not a wholesale crushing of the FARC, the union movement, and of course the rural grange movement.

The choice of whether to seek an extra-constitutional extra term may not lie with Uribe himself, however. The law is pretty clear that he can't. The prosecutors' office has incriminting evidence that Uribe and his secret police chief have violated election law to boot.

There's also hardly any guarantee that Uribe would even WIN. Should Ingrid Betancourt return and run as a Fusion-Green Party candidate, she wins for fun.

I also can't say that Uribe with the legal problems that he's sure to face in this effort would be a massive favorite over Senadora Piedad Cordoba.

Obama has yet to weigh in on Plan Colombia but all indications are that he will continue the policy of previous presidents. Plan Colombia is terrible policy and has made the AUD/FARC conflict worse.

The better angels of Uribe's nature should have been give room by the US a year and a half ago when he and Chavez sat down to try to broker a peace initiative between the AUDs and the FARC.

The endgame here is continued civil war, ever worsening, unless the AUDS, FARC, Conservatives, and Liberals get to the table and discuss what each side needs to stop fighting and become legititmate FAR RIGHT and FAR LEFT political parties respectively. With, of course, a Truth And Reconciliation Commission to add a level of trust. Along with the agreement to stop the fighting and to change some of the drug laws (a futures market in coca LEAVES,perhaps), admission of past guilt twinned with NO PUNISHMENT for either side could work.

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Blogger gabriel cisneros said...

I, for one, will sorely miss President Uribe's presence on the international scene. I think that it is extremely naive to think that the FARC is only a local problem for Colombia. There is no question that they represent a tendency that takes its signals and seeks legitimacy in the axis which Castro and Chavez (et al) have honed over the last fifty years.

Personally, I believe that their position was flawed from the get go - unlike others who have argued that long ago they represented a legitimate struggle which simply degenerated into flawed tactics. This is for the simple reason that the "end game" for them is not democracy but a totalitarian version of Communism.

In this version of political life there is no give and take between rival interests, but merely a stagnant "victory" of the manipulated masses kept in check through ignorance, dependency and oppression.

What other peace can a democracy offer other than the requirement to renounce violence and enter the game of democratic elections? If this is so unappealing to the FARC, surely the triumphs which Chavez can legitimately claim in Venezuelan elections should at least be an incentive to try.

Uribe made a simple proposition: the government should have a monopoly over the use of force in 100 percent of the territory if that force is exercised professionally and within the limits of the law.

Has Uribe attained his goal? Will Chavez continue to give shelter and aid to the FARC? Could a Santos continue the legacy Uribe began? These are the questions that are pushing the reelection of Uribe. Lets remember that WWII and the Depression similarly pushed Roosevelt into a fourth term.

My preferred outcome is no third term and a successful reinsertion of the FARC into Colombian democratic life. Unfortunately there are many "forces beyond our control" to arrive at a simple and principled decision.

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