Three weeks after the start of the social outbreak, the Colombian president, Iván Duque , finds himself at a crossroads : a path offers him the possibility of finding a political solution with the leaders of the protest; the other leads him to preserve his loyalty with former President Álvaro Uribe and the sectors more inclined to the right, who demand to recover the streets at any repressive cost. While Duque ponders, the conflict promises more days of fiery intensity.
The Central Unitary of Workers (CUT)announced the continuation of the mobilizations, at least until May 28. At the same time, it negotiates with the Government. “Of course we have the utmost interest in reaching an agreement as soon as possible,” said CUT leader Francisco Maltés.
The delay, he stressed, “is Duque’s responsibility.” The Unemployment Committee has demanded guarantees for the exercise of the protest and that the Government authorize the entry into the country of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) . “We hope the government understands that 17 million people go to bed hungry .”
Maltese believes that the demonstrations, despite their high cost in lives ( 51 people have died, 43 of them due to police actions ), have stopped two of the official projects that sought to unload the weight of the economic crisis on the most deprived : first, the tax reform and, hours ago, the changes in the health system .
The Colombian political map increasingly resembles that of 2016, when the right-wing opposed the peace agreement that the Juan Manuel Santos Administration had signed with the FARC with its arsenal of fake news . Uribismo, then ardent promoter of the “no” to the Havana pact, won the popular consultation by a narrow margin.
Since the demonstrations and roadblocks began, he has demanded to dissolve them with a greater dose of harshness. Uribe repeats that, otherwise, Colombia will be another Venezuela. Unlike what happened five years ago, the ex-president’s preaching has lost intensity.
The heterogeneous vote for ‘yes’, meanwhile, tends to better understand the reasons that lit the fuse of the social outbreak. ” They are two parallel – and opposed – narratives that once again reveal the abyss,” said the digital magazine La Silla Vaca .
” Colombia cannot be so polarized , so divided, we have to build bridges,” Santos said last Wednesday. Another former president, the liberal César Gaviria , has met with Duque for the same purpose. Before the conversation, Gaviria had harshly criticized Defense Minister Diego Molano .
He maintained that his orders to the police could be interpreted as ” a license to kill .” Gaviria has tried what may be something impossible: for Duque to distance himself from radical Uribismo and open negotiations with the Unemployment Committee that, unlike 2019, should come to fruition. “I am sure that most of the dealers in Cali are people of good andit only hurts to equate them with infiltrated and armed guerrillas . I was very pleased that President Duque, a couple of days ago, rectified that dangerous expression of the Minister (of Defense), “said Gaviria.
Until May 18, the NGO Temblores has recorded, in addition to the 51 deaths, 2,387 cases of police violence, 18 of them of a sexual nature, more than 1,600 injured and 33 protesters with eye damage . The former liberal president believes that Molano’s departure from the government would be a positive sign.