Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ abandonment of his predecessor Alvaro Uribe’s “Democratic Security” policy is the main reason he should not be reelected in 2014, said presidential hopeful Oscar Ivan Zuluaga Friday.
On the heels of Santos’ decision to comply with electoral laws allowing him to run for reelection in 2014, former finance minister (2007-2010) and one-time political ally of Santos at the U Party, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, told Colombia Reports that under the current president “the country abandoned the democratic security policies and changed [the system] to a negotiation with a terrorist organization, the FARC.”
Zuluaga reprimanded the head of state for his cordial relationship with the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, and for the neighboring country’s level of involvement in the peace talks between the government and the FARC in Havana, Cuba.
“We saw that we were wrong about Santos’ agenda when he changed democratic security and called Chavez his new best friend, and made it so Venezuela holds the keys to peace in Colombia,” said Zuluaga.
The government of Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe — in which Zuluaga was finance minister and Santos minister of defense — had broken ties with Chavez’s government and accused the deceased leader of aiding guerrilla groups politically and economically.
“In our government we fought Venezuela for being a government that economically and politically helped a narco-terrorist organization like the FARC,” said Zuluaga. “Santos called Chavez his new best friend and permitted Venezuela to be a determining factor for the [peace] process in Havana, Cuba.”
“Today we question Venezuela because it’s an illegitimate government and acts like a totalitarian regime … and it’s very grave for a democracy like Colombia, that it defends an illegitimate government like Venezuela in a peace process,” said Zuluaga.
In addition to these complaints, Zuluaga said that seven out of 10 Colombians do not want Santos reelected and affirmed that the poor state of Colombia’s economy, the failure to reform the country’s clogged justice system and the bureaucratic spending habits of the government are all reasons to say no to Santos in 2014. He also called the Santos government “centrist” and claimed it was distant from the regional governments and its citizens.
A Gallop poll from February of this year showed that Santos’ negative perception in the country hit 47%, the highest ever since he took office.
Oscar Ivan Zuluaga is a primary candidate with the newly formed Pure Democratic Center party, formed to support Uribe and his political legacy. Other possible Pure Democratic Center candidates in 2014 include Former vice-President Francisco Santos and Senator Juan Carlos Velez.
PROFILE: Oscar Ivan Zuluaga