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More than 11 days of protests in Colombia have caused damage to public property and citizens. In light of the violence, Orlando Avendaño, co-editor-in-chief of El American, talks to Daniel Raisbeck, senior fellow at Reason Foundation, Colombian historian, professor and researcher, about the situation in the country and how Colombians would be affected by an eventual victory of the left.
Raisbeck has no doubt that the left, and particularly presidential hopeful Gustavo Petro, there is the intention to depose the government of President Iván Duque.
“It is something that has been brewing for several years. In 2019, already with one year of Iván Duque’s Government, a series of demonstrations began. For years it has been normalized to protest and violate the freedoms of all citizens. Especially with the closing of roads”, said Raisbeck.
Regarding the Duque government, he said that it is necessary to build a more solid cabinet with respectable people. He also celebrated the appointment of Marta Lucía Ramírez as Chancellor of the Republic. For Raisbeck, it is necessary to have a respectable person to explain to the international community what is really happening in Colombia, so that the world does not continue to think that these are peaceful demonstrations.
“I think it is very good that he has appointed Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez as Chancellor of the Republic because it is necessary to have people of weight in the cabinet,” he explained. “It must be made clear that what is happening goes beyond peaceful protests and this must be communicated very well to the international community.”
Raisbeck insists that the government of Ivan Duque is a democratic one. “It is a liberal democracy. And that’s how democracy works”. The rules of the game, the researcher stresses, must be respected.
On Latin American socialism
Raisbeck also referred to the advance of socialism in the region and the increase of violence in the streets. For this reason, he considers that Colombians must become aware of what is happening and recalled that Venezuela is an example of what these types of events cause in democracies.
“Being next to Venezuela, if there is a country that has suffered the Venezuelan crisis it has been Colombia, at least I hope that the lesson has been learned and we do not elect someone like Gustavo Petro”, he said.
Raisbeck warned about the risks that Petro’s triumph in Colombia could entail. Especially because of his closeness to totalitarian regimes such as Venezuela’s and his intentions of wanting to change the Colombian democratic system.
“If Petro wins it would be difficult to recover Colombia because he is one of those people that one does not know what he is going to come up with. He may be a Hugo Chávez because he was very close to Chávez. That is why I believe him when he expresses his desire to change the system and the Constitution”.
He indicated that Cuba has had a strategy to attack Colombia’s democracy. “This Bolivarian breeze is not a coincidence. Cuba is a hostile state towards Colombia. In fact, the ELN is a creation of Cuba, which for decades has been waging war against the rule of law”.
Therefore, a very clear message would be to break diplomatic relations with Cuba”.
Raisbeck proposes breaking diplomat relationships, pointing out that Cuba has effectively declared war on Colombia. Likewise, he warned that what is happening in Venezuela is not comparable to what is happening in Colombia. He emphasized that in Venezuela there is no democracy and there are no free elections either. “
Democracy does not work that if you don’t like something, you go and block the roads. It is not the same as in Venezuela because there are no free elections there,” he said. “We are talking about there being a dictatorship.”
The historian added that any comparisons of Duque’s democratically elected administration with the Maduro regime only serves to “depreciate words such as ‘dictatorship'”.