More than 700 policemen injured, a police captain killed, 6% of Cali’s mass transportation system destroyed, a large part of Bogota’s transportation system also destroyed and hospitals in peril because the road blockades don’t allow the arrival of supplies. These are some of the figures given by the former president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, to those who claim that what is happening in the South American country is a peaceful protest repressed by systematic abuse of authority.
El American talked to former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez about his view on what is happening in Colombia and how the government should act in security matters, a field in which the former president is an expert.
Since April 28, Colombia has been enduring an increasing wave of violence. At its beginning, marches were called to protest a tax reform proposed by President Iván Duque in an attempt to raise money to sustain, and even increase, social programs that the Colombian government considers necessary to help the millions of people whose situation has been severely affected by the pandemic and government-mandated lockdowns.
Despite the fact that the proposed reform has already been withdrawn with the Government announcing that it will increase social aid, strikes and urban terrorism are on the rise in the streets of the country.
For the former president, who is still the most important figure of the Colombian right-wing, the country has a problem of violence that was underestimated and that took advantage of an untimely tax reform to come back to the surface. He considers that it is a violence that wants, with the destruction of the country, to determine an outcome in next year’s elections so that “tendencies similar to Venezuela or Cuba” triumph.
Uribe emphasizes that social protest is respectable, but it is also imperative to reject violence and vandalism: “the country cannot be blocked.”
Regarding violence and attacks against the security forces, the former president asks the international community to take a close look at what is happening: “neither the United States nor Europe would allow this kind of mistreatment of the security forces.”
Asked about the objectives and the interest behind these strikes and acts of violence, Uribe explained that violence taking place in his country “is aimed at democratic destruction.”
“You ask the people blocking the roads why they don’t let food and medicines pass, and they answer ‘we want Colombians to feel hungry to overthrow Duque or to use him until next year’s elections.'”Álvaro Uribe
For Uribe, what is happening today in Colombia is the clear combination, very well coordinated, of all forms of struggle. He assures that the government underestimated this violence.
Regarding financing, a common question among Colombians is “how can demonstrators sustain themselves without working, for weeks, in the streets and stopping the country?”
For former President Uribe, the main source of financing for terrorism in Colombia is drug trafficking.
Uribe reminds the international community that a victory of the left in Colombia would mean stopping the fight against drug trafficking and that this, in addition, stabilizes the dictatorship in Venezuela.
“The triumph of the left in Colombia would be an illegitimate triumph, because it would be protocolized at the ballot box and determined by arms, as we see it, that triumph would increase the danger of the United States. The triumph in Colombia of a government sympathetic to the Venezuelan dictatorship means expanding the territorial map of threat to the United States.”Álvaro Uribe