Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s approval rating officially is still 78 percent. Quite a
comfortable rating considering he just had his 2014 re-election sunk,
his judicial reform killed, his DAS director sacked, an increasing amount of displaced, his highly praised armed forces butchering civilians and his Plan Colombia funds likely to be cut.
You’d think with such bad luck it would be time for a revision of the President’s approval rating, but no. Not in Colombia.
Approval ratings at a time when the President is having such a hard time to avoid admitting he is not perfect is highly inconvenient. Better wait until there’s another national success story to tell, wait one day for the country to be euphorious and then test their loyalty to the President.
In times of war, a divided or unhappy people is the last a President needs. A plummeting popularity may just cause more shortcuts and power outs
in what Uribe wants to portray as his flawless and strongly supported
Democratic Security policy.
Better to temporarily not ask the opinion of the Colombian people, especially those outside the wealthy parts of the major cities, those suffering from the war, the weather and the poverty.
Better to make sure any public opposing voice is immediately linked to the FARC or indicted for rebellion.
Better to have a vast informal army of paramilitaries installing fear in a people that’s been conditioned to fear and obey.
Better to not have any fair approval ratings in case you may have to improve your policy or admit you or your ministers made mistakes.
Update Friday 10-31
Wishes are heard and miracles do exist. Gallup did an approval rating less than 24 hours after publishing this article. Uribe’s approval rate is only slightly lower than the previous 78 percent. 75 percent of the Colombians approve his policy.
Author Adriaan Alsema is editor-in-chief of Colombia Reports