Hugo Chávez won his referendum in Venezuela and Colombia’s president Uribe said: “Me preocupa perpetuar al Presidente, pero tampoco puedo ser políticamente irresponsable”. That means that he is worried to want to stay in presidency, but nonetheless he feels he cannot be politically irresponsible, right? In my country we have a way to define such a way of talking: bum turning. Americans call this flip flopping. You try to be nice to every one.
Álvaro Uribe realizes very well that Chávez’s possible reelection in 2013 is not well seen in the democratic part of the world. He is very careful in his strategy for the presidential elections in Colombia in 2010, but oh boy, does he want. He is dying to go on in 2010.
He complains that he is accused of clinging to power and he says he just wants to be responsible. What does that mean? That means that there is only one correct policy in Colombia at this time: Uribe’s Democratic Security. All the other ways of thinking are irresponsible. Is this way of thinking democratic? No.
But he is getting help. Politicians in Colombia already are saying that what happened in Venezuela opens the door to eternal re-election in Colombia as well, as Colombia’s daily El Tiempo wrote today. As if changing the constitution to make it possible for a certain person to stay in presidency is something simple like go to the market to buy food. The constitution is also meant to protect the civil society against politicians who want to abuse of power. What happened in Venezuela is worrying.
In the same article of El Tiempo Liberal, Senator Cecilia López says that democracy is in crisis. Dictators who impose themselves are being changed for elected dictators, López said. And I think she is right. Unfortunately Colombia is not the only country where politicians are already speculating about eternal reelection. In Bolivia they also got enthusiastic. Evo Morales’ party MAS wants to make reelection possible if Morales wins the elections in December 2010.
There was also good news from Venezuela and that is that the opposition is strengthening. There is no garantee for mr. Chávez that he will be reelected in 2013.
The Colombian opposition now has the task to show that having a different view than Uribe’s is not irresponsible. It should stop its internal quarrels and get to work. It doesn’t have the time the Venezuelans have. The elections are in a year.
Author Wies Ubags is a Dutch freelance journalist in Bogotá, works for media in her country and has her own weblog.