Former president Alvaro Uribe on Thursday called out for a rebellion against the government of his successor Juan Manuel Santos over the recent capture and release of a general by FARC rebels.
Now a senator for his own Democratic Center party, Uribe has established himself as the principal critic of the current administration and the ongoing peace process with Colombia’s oldest guerrilla group.
His scathing attacks on Santos and his policies have by now become part of the Colombian political landscape. But even Uribe is still capable of surprises.
“Rebellion” is the latest go-to term used by the former president in his tireless criticism of the current administration.
“Doesn’t matter if many or a few, we have the obligation to rebel against Santos’ deceit, which leveled democracy and its soldiers with terrorism,” wrote Uribe on his Twitter account on November 30.
Just a couple of days later, the word was back in Uribe’s lexicon as he took to social media again to write: “We rebel against Santos’ mistreatment of Colombia, as he puts drug-trafficking down as an altruistic end in the nature of political crimes.”
The comment referred to Santos’ suggestion that FARC drug-trafficking could be considered a political crime in a move aimed at boosting the peace talks through sparing guerrillas from prosecutions.
The term “rebellion” has garnered controversy and sparked voices of disapprobation from part of the Colombian political scene. According to some, the term can be read as nothing less but a call for disorder and even mutiny.
For the president of the Senate, Jose David Name, using words such as “to rebel” is “inappropriate” in the context of Uribe’s traditionally sizable influence over the Colombian military.
“To me it seems inappropriate to use such words. They are an act of instigation of civil disobedience and that is not good, especially coming from the ex-president Uribe. It’s a very unfortunate term,” said Name.
Even more alerted is Ivan Cepeda, the senator of Polo Alternativo. “I consider it an act of instigation of a coup. The word couldn’t have any other meaning here. Uribe has to come clean about what games he is playing. He has to say if what he is looking for is to subvert the government and promote an attack on political power and its institutions. It’s very dangerous,” said Cepeda.
The leftist law-maker admitted that although it didn’t have to be Uribe’s intention, “he should clarify if these messages are directed to the military forces or to certain extremist sectors. Such statements coming from someone with this much influence are dangerous.”
However, according to one of Uribe’s closest allies, senator Jose Obdulio Gaviria, there is no reason to worry about the comments. The senator explained to “El Tiempo” newspaper that to “rebel” in this context means to confront, oppose and question and that it “is something we are doing with reference to the politics” of the current government.
Gaviria also referred to the alleged influence Uribe maintains inside the army claiming that although some think that the former president is seeking to undermine the institutions of the country, it is simply not the case.
Another member of the “Uribista” party Ernesto Macías also rejected the criticism of the new term used by the former president. For him, “Uribe rebels against the government every single day.”