Colombia: The Collapse of Uribism

By Ángel Guerra Cabrera on May 13, 2021

Two years ago Álvaro Uribe spoke of carrying out a massacre “with social criteria” to put an end to the indigenous Minga in Cauca, and a few hours ago, as commander in chief, he proclaimed: “we trust in the immediate military takeover of Cali… we trust that our authorities can arrest the domestic vandals and the hordes of terrorists that have invaded the city”. This is the cruel mentality

The national strike in Colombia enters its 16th day without a glimpse of political will from the “government” of Iván Duque – Uribe’s puppet – to seriously listen and reach agreements that satisfy the just demands of the innumerable sectors, cities, territories and millions of people participating in the protest. On the contrary, he continues to repress them in blood and fire. In relation to the failure of the only meeting held with the National Strike Committee by the also known as sub president, 12 days after the beginning of the mobilization, one of its members, Francisco Maltés, general secretary of the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, affirmed, “There was no empathy from the government with the reasons, with the petitions that have led us to this national strike. Duque “was complacent with the excessive use of public force”, lamented student leader Jennifer Pedraza. And the fact is that the occupant of the Casa de Nariño does not accept even the first demand of the non-conformists, the legitimate right to peaceful protest and the cessation of police and military violence against those who exercise it. They also are demanding a universal basic income of at least one minimum wage, the defense of national production (including artisanal and peasant production), a halt to the forced eradication of illicit crops and aerial spraying with the carcinogen glyphosate. They also demand subsidies for SMEs, defense of food sovereignty and security, and free university tuition. Non-discrimination of gender, sexual and ethnic diversity and the end of privatizations. It should be pointed out that this is not all, only initial demands, since the mere demand for the implementation of the peace agreements, only 4 percent fulfilled by the government since their signing in 2016, involves all spheres of social life and is a general clamor of the strike, although it provokes phobia in Uribe and Duque.

Andrés Pabón Lara argues that the Colombian State, usurped for more than 200 years by a class generating land dispossession and land grabbing and armed repression, has become a killing machine that has only perfected itself over time. The author explains the different stages of this process of perfection since the beginning of the 20th century and affirms that it is in the government of Álvaro Uribe that repression is enthroned as “officially declared policy”. He explains that Uribism inserted itself into politics with a fascistic “iron fist” discourse that led to the death of thousands of young people by the army, innocent people passed off as guerrilla casualties who were paid to the military as economic stimulus. He adds that Uribism implied the legalization and extension to urban areas of the repressive action of the paramilitaries and accelerated the dispossession of land, which in less than a decade meant that more than 8 million peasant families were expelled from their plots of land.

One of the most nefarious axes of Uribe’s repressive perfectionism, Pabon points out, is the generation of a fascist, anti-communist, anti-Chavist and racist common thought in large Colombian popular sectors. The “naturalization of the assassination of those who demonstrated and organized” from “the left” allowed Uribism to win elections (including that of Iván Duque) and to oppose “obsessively and uncritically the peace negotiations signed with the FARC”.

This operation of ideological control, so profitable for the former president, began to be questioned when the leftist candidate for the presidency, Gustavo Petro, obtained the highest vote achieved by a standard bearer outside the oligarchy. It suffered a hard blow due to the strikes of November 2019 and January of the following year, not to mention the current one, in which a transcendental event took place: the unprecedented and very broad articulation of very dissimilar urban and rural sectors: workers, peasants, indigenous people, Afro-descendants, students, young men and women, members of sexual diversity. Unions and, at the same time, popular and youth committees in neighborhoods, which emerged like mushrooms after the rain.

What is certain is that the popular forces have never before reached such a degree of combativeness and political awareness throughout the territory of Colombia, the main ally of the United States in our region, and that Uribism is holding on to bayonets for now, but is collapsing politically like a house of cards.

Source: La Pupil Insomne, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English