Colombia holds the future in its hands. Everyone knows it, but few understand it. I have always thought that every election is the most important in history, so I find it repetitive and cliché to say the same thing every four years. What is certain is that if Gustavo Petro loses this election, he or someone else with the same agenda will try again in the future.
Democracy is imperfect, certainly, but it is the best system we have been able to procure for ourselves as a society. It is a system whose main flaw is that it allows criminals – white collar or not – to come to power. Many bandits have passed through the presidency of our countries, and despite the year they have had, they all have passed, they are a memory, because it is democracy that allows us to try again from time to time.
The stumbling blocks are strong and traumatic. We have come across despicable figures over the years who have caused legitimate resentment to grow, but it seems that our vision has been blurred and that fog prevents many from seeing the emptiness represented by those who propose themselves as an alternative.
“Venezuelans wanted a change and it was their turn to change their country”, reads an advertisement that can be seen in some streets of Colombia. There is no doubt that Venezuelans and Cubans have tried to warn from their exile in every country in the region not to make the mistakes that cost them their freedom. It is even clearer, however, that no one takes the piss out of anyone else’s head.
Colombia holds its future and that of the region in its hands. It has the capacity to feed a monster or to give democratic breathing space to an increasingly threatened Latin America.
One thing I’m certain of. There will not be a day in my life or yours, dear reader, when democracy is not threatened. There will always be those who want to destroy it from within. And there will be many who will succeed. It is only a matter of time.
If only we as a society were able to learn from the Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Cubans, and not throw into oblivion the painful lessons that keep those countries as a land of criminals, with an agonizing hope of redemption.
This article originally appeared in El American’s newsletter on May 28, 2022. Subscribe for free here!