A month has passed since the protests in Colombia and the vandalism has not stopped. However, many citizens continue to denounce to the international community that these are not peaceful demonstrations, but rather urban terrorism aimed at cornering the government of President Iván Duque.
To learn about the situation and analyze the cultural battle that is taking place, Vanessa Vallejo, co-editor in chief of El American, talked to renowned journalist Eduardo Mackenzie about the situation.
For Mackenzie, the international media are not telling the truth about what is happening in Colombia. On the contrary, they have focused on labeling the Colombian government as extremely right-wing. He argues that in this narrative all those with conservative ideologies are labeled as extremists. Similarly, he points out that the way to show the reality of what is happening is for Colombian citizens to inform the world of what is happening.
“We Colombians have to make an effort to write and describe what is happening in Colombia. Also to translate that information into different languages and send it to the different news agencies,” he said.
Likewise, Mackenzie explained that a plan is being developed in Colombia to destabilize the Duque government. He also referred to the position of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) on the situation in Colombia. He highlighted that positions similar to that of the IACHR affect democracy.
“In Colombia, there is no social movement, what there is a revolutionary offensive that seeks to overthrow the government and replace it or impose a government program. The mistakes being made by organizations such as the IACHR are very serious against democracy.”
Eduardo Mackenzie on the government’s position
He was also emphatic in differentiating between protest, demanding something with the use of force, and demonstration, which is carried out in a peaceful manner. In view of this, he explained that the authorities have found it difficult to control the situation because they do not differentiate between these terms. “President Duque is impregnated with an ideology of political correctness. That paralyzes him.”
He also discussed the role played by the FARC and the ELN. He emphasized that the Colombian media have fulfilled the task of showing the influence of these groups in the protests.
“The role of the FARC and ELN in these demonstrations has been confirmed. The most important media have published about it. These armed and subversive groups are intervening in these protests and that is what the international press does not want to see, even though the Colombian press has said so.”
Finally, he commented on the participation of far-left Senator Gustavo Petro in this protest process. Mackenzie pointed out that Colombians are concerned with what is happening and this will have an electoral translation, although, he warned, this movement may not end in an electoral process.
“The dynamics of this may end in something other than elections. Hopefully, it will end in elections. But Petro, for me, is carbonized because the Colombian people saw what he can do once he reaches the Government. If he does it as a senator from the opposition, let’s imagine what a government with this gentleman would be like.”