Influential UK newspaper The Guardian Monday bashed the economic development policies of Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe, calling them “unethical.”
According to Guardian columnist Jonathan Glennie, Uribe’s policies resulted in “committing grave human rights abuses, disempowering the poorest, and encouraging the consolidation of power and wealth in the hands of the rich” while developing the country.
“Imagine a situation in which millions of people are displaced from their land by violence or the threat of violence. The land is taken over by businesses that develop mega plantations to produce bananas, palm oil, or, yes, coca. Jungle is cleared for cattle rearing. Mines are dug to extract copper, gold, emeralds or oil. The manufacturing sector, which creates jobs and strengthens the middle class, fails to advance while resource extraction and export, which employs very few and fills the pockets of the wealthy, is the key plank of development strategy,” the Guardian columnists wrote.
“Colombia is fundamentally an example of how development can be unethical. Millions have been displaced, thousands killed, tribes wiped out, all in the name of development. Development can be carried out with justice, respect and dignity for the poor. Or it can be carried out with violence, displacement and the suppression of human rights. Development indicators can be met with a focus on jobs and equality or, bypassing these, with patriarchal handouts and the delivery of basic services without affecting fundamental power relations,” Glennie continues.
Uribe, Colombia’s President from 2002 to 2010, is widely praised for his military successes against the FARC, the reduction in violence in Colombia and developing the country’s economy and exports. However, the former President is also criticized and investigated for grave human rights violations committed under his political responsibility.