In an op-ed published Sunday in Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, former minister and former Ambassador to the US, Gabriel Silva Lujan said that the control Uribe exercises over his Center Democratic party draws obvious parallels to fascism and the Medellin Drug Cartel headed by legendary mafia figure Pablo Escobar.
Silva sited the controversial nomination of Oscar Ivan Zuluaga to lead the Center Democratic presidential ticket next March as a recent example of Uribe’s authoritarian politics.
Zuluaga won the party’s nomination over heavy favorite Francisco Santos, on a last-minute flood of votes many have claimed was orchestrated by Uribe.
“So who gave the order? Well, ‘the Patron’ did,” wrote Silva in his weekly column, referring to the title once used by Medellin Cartel members for Escobar.
“In this deplorable show – whatever efforts are made to disguise the truth – it became clear that Uribe’s Democratic Center is neither a center nor democratic. The only thing that matters is what Uribe decides!”
Silva went on to write that the rhetoric being used during the convention were “of the same calibre” as that found in the code of the former mafia, and that the self-appointed “Pura sangre” (thoroughbred) distinction used by the Democratic Center’s hardline Senate candidates conjures images of the blood oaths sworn to Escobar during his days at the forefront of the Colombian mafia.
The ex-Minister of Defense also argues that the party’s use of Uribe’s name and image — the party has been rebranded the Uribe Democratic Center party, and uses a photo of the former president as part of its official banner — mirrors a characteristic common to various dictators throughout history.
“This is very close to Nazism and fascism,” he writes, “where the dictator always commands and only he can declare himself as the unquestioned representative of his supporters. It only exists through the leader.”