He is dying to be the next president of Colombia, but he will wait until the political outview is clear. That’s what Germán Vargas Lleras told Colombia’s biggest newspaper El Tiempo last Monday. Vargas Lleras is the leader of Cambio Radical, Radical Change, a political party which is supposed to be a member of the coalition of president Uribe, but which is the most dissident.
What does Vargas Lleras mean? Well obvious, he wants to know if Uribe will be a candidate in 2010 or not. Just like all the others who very much want to be the next president. First in line is Juan Manuel Santos, the current defense minister, who has been accused of already having started his campaign, being still a member of mr. Uribe’s government.
And there are many others and let us not forget the left: the former mayor of Bogotá Lucho Garzón, senator Gustavo Petro. The Liberals, former defense minister Rafael Pardo, former attorney general Alfonso Gómez Méndez. The Conservatives, former minister of Justice and Internal Affairs Carlos Holguín, the ambassador to London Noemí Sanín, etc. etc.
They are all waiting for Uribe to take his decision. Of course the president first needs to change the law again in order to be reelected, just like the last time, in 2006. But everybody expects that if he wants to be reelected he will be. His popularity is still around 80 percent. Uribe has supernational powers, so it seems.
Why is everybody so afraid? Why don’t the Vargas Lleras and the Lucho Garzons explain how they are going to change Colombia’s politics in such a way that the country will improve (even more)? Mr. Vargas Lleras for sure would not differ so much from Uribe’s line and mr. Garzón would choose a different course, but why not just offer other options? It is refreshing. The country’s democracy needs different points of views elaborated and publicly discussed. Now it seems as if only mr. Uribe’s policy works. Nonsense.
It is a strategy of the president to keep everybody waiting for his decision. Nobody dares to move and that is how Uribe strengthens his position.
Well ladies and gentlemen, just let him be and go your own way. Show you have guts and don’t let yourselves be trapped by this president who keeps saying No, I will not be a candidate unless or Yes, but only if. Ignore him. You will feel relieved and the country is going to breath.
Author Wies Ubags is a
Dutch freelance journalist in Bogotá and works for media in