Make Real News!

100K Challenge!

$35,288 raised so farEND DATE: October 3   
Every dollar you donate will be matched until we reach our 100K goal!
  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Colombian elections headed for upset? Pt.2


    Hylton: Mockus a rupture with Uribe but not a break with US; but could relax tension with Venezuela -   May 20, 2010
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook




    I support The Real News Network because it cured my vertigo from all the spinning by Fox and MSNBC. - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Forrest Hylton teaches history and politics at the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá). He is the author of Evil Hour in Colombia (Verso, 2006), and with Sinclair Thomson, co-author of Revolutionary Horizons: Past and Present in Bolivian Politics (Verso, 2007). He has contributed to New Left Review, NACLA Report on the Americas, and CounterPunch, and his short fiction and translations have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail. Most recently he authored the novel Vanishing Acts: A Tragedy (City Works Press, 2010).

    Transcript

    Colombian elections headed for upset? Pt.2FORREST HYLTON, AUTHOR, PROF. HISTORY AND POLITICS, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES, BOGOTÁ: [Juan Manuel] Santos is somebody who's a real political insider. And although [Antanas] Mockus has been the mayor of Bogotá two times, he's able to run as a political outsider to some degree because he has no ties to either of the two traditional parties, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, or the new right-wing parties that have grown up around President Uribe. Now, Mockus's campaign slogan is "democratic legality", which is a direct reference to the fact that the rule of law has largely been thrown by the wayside in the pursuit of Uribe's democratic security policies. Santos is running as the inheritor and the person who will continue Uribe's democratic security policies, as someone who was Uribe's minister of defense during key moments in the struggle against the FARC insurgency. So Mockus really represents a centrist option in Colombia's generally very polarized political panorama, and that's what is taking people by surprise. But when you look at the polling data, you see that Mockus was really able to move forward once former mayor of Medellín Sergio Fajardo joined the campaign as a vice presidential candidate, and it's really the two of these figures together representing an image of clean, efficient, independent municipal politics that has allowed Mockus to project an image nationwide as someone who could in fact govern Colombia.It's interesting. The base agreement with Colombia and the United States that would allow the United States military to use seven Colombian military bases actually took place at the behest of the Colombians when the Manta base in Ecuador expired. The Colombian government of Uribe was eager to have the US set up camp in seven of Colombia's military bases. It's very unlikely that either Mockus or Santos would change those. It's possible that Santos would try to negotiate more base agreements. But the difference between Santos and Mockus in this respect, although minimal, would be that while Santos is extremely belligerent towards Venezuela and has really tried in some ways to use this election to run against Chávez on a national security ticket, with the idea that Venezuela somehow threatens Colombia's national security. That really hasn't worked very well for him, because people's sensible concerns today in Colombia have to do with their own economic situations, with the state of the health-care system in Colombia, and a number of other concerns that can't neatly be [inaudible] the security rubric. So that's part of what has Juan Manuel Santos's campaign in the dumps. And certainly when it comes to education, Mockus is a former director of the National University, and his vice presidential candidate, Fajardo, is a former professor with a PhD in mathematics. So their commitment to education, to health care, to improving the situation of the country's unemployed—Colombia has one of the highest unemployment rates in Latin America right now, and Mockus and Fajardo are wisely pursuing a strategy which emphasizes their ability to create employment. I think one major difference between the two candidates as far as Venezuela's concerned is that Mockus is likely to ease diplomatic tensions with Venezuela and, you know, resume what would be considered normal relations with Venezuela, in Colombian historical context, whereas Juan Manuel Santos is clearly angling for an escalation of conflict, at least on a rhetorical level, and perhaps in reality as well. Juan Manuel Santos has long cultivated very close ties in Washington, and he has influential and powerful friends in the Pentagon and at State, and he certainly knows his way around Washington. Mockus really is much more of an outsider, because he has only governed Bogotá, which clearly hasn't brought him into close contact with the US embassy, whereas Juan Manuel Santos has long interacted with the embassy, as well as with US government officials in Washington itself. So you would think that the United States would have a clear preference for Juan Manuel Santos and would be trying to influence the outcome. That may be in the scenes. If it is, it clearly isn't having the desired effect. And indeed the United States might well be kind of repositioning itself in anticipation of a possible Mockus victory in the second round. It's pretty clear that neither candidate's going to win in the first round, although you never know until it happens. I don't think anybody sees Mockus as a particular threat to the relative autonomy that the armed forces in this country enjoy, and I think they see him as somebody who would be forced to back the struggle against the FARC to a considerable degree.I think what we may be seeing is something similar to what happened with Obama's campaign [inaudible] energy and the social networking and so forth is taking place in the Mockus camp. And the more economic and social issues become the chief issues in the campaign, the more difficulty Juan Manuel Santos has, because he really is a kind of one-note candidate who keeps pounding away at the theme of security and is somewhat deaf to the responses of public opinion. So, in fact, the big problem that Santos has is that he really has some of the sort of sclerotic qualities that characterized McCain in the McCain campaign. I think Mockus would be quick to realize that it's in fact in Colombia's interest to have good relations with its neighbors in the region, and that it could have both relations with its neighbors in the region and good relations with the United States—it's probably not an either/or proposition for a skillful politician. But the Colombian right has obviously emphasized its ties to the United States at the expense of its neighbors, and we have every reason to expect that that's what Santos would do if he were president. But Mockus would have little to lose by drawing closer to leaders like Lula, for instance, and normalizing relations with Chávez through a figure like Lula.It's interesting to see that many of the most powerful economic forces in Colombia have begun to swing their weight behind Mockus's candidacy in very much the same way that we saw the powerful sectors within the US economy weigh in in favor of an Obama candidacy, leaving McCain kind of high and dry towards the end in terms of campaign fundraising. And it looks like Mockus is going very strong right now with backing from some of the country's major economic players. This has all happened so rapidly, and US policy in Latin America right now, you know, except for supporting outlaw regimes like Honduras or hard-right wing regimes like Uribe's regime, US policy in Latin America is in a bit of disarray. So I would be surprised if they've really been able to kind of keep up with developments and kind of plot a strategy as to what to do, although there may be people who see, along with the country's powerful business interests in Colombia [inaudible] really going to continue a number of economic and security policies that have taken place throughout the neoliberal period—which is to say, very much as was the case with Obama, I think the powerful elites and folks who benefit from the status quo don't really have any concerns about Mockus rocking that status quo.

    DISCLAIMER:

    Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Coalition to Fight the Islamic State Unlikely to Succeed
    Upsurge in Voter Participation and Scare-Campaigns As Scots Head To The Polls
    Are Combat Troops on Their Way to Iraq?
    Media Failing to Provide Substantive Debate on ISIS
    Interpret or Change the World?
    Special Report: Scots in Their Own Words on Independence
    What Drives U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Israel?
    The Federal Reserve Makes "Effort" to Rein in Big Banks
    An American Fascism - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (5/8)
    Breakthroughs Unlikely at Upcoming UN Climate Summit
    The Untold History of The Star Spangled Banner
    What Drives Obama's Foreign Policy?
    Israel Facing Major Economic Consequences for 50 Day War on Gaza
    FBI Targets Minority Communities in Mortgage Fraud Investigations
    Obama's 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels Are Nowhere to Be Found
    "The State Targeted the Panthers Because We Were Socialists, Not Because We Were Armed" - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (4/8)
    Democrats Have Options to Pursue Campaign Finance Reform
    The Bennis Plan: Here Is a Real Strategy for Dealing with ISIS
    Baltimore Cop Says Some Officers Are a Threat to the Communities They Serve
    The World Made A Much More Dangerous Place by the U.S. Since 9/11
    American Bombs Will Not Defeat ISIS
    Obama's Syria Plan Will Strengthen IS and Warlordism
    ISIS Wants the US Drawn into a Ground War
    New Iraqi Government Will Abide by U.S. Regional Goals
    COINTELPRO, Attack on the Panthers - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (3/8)
    Federal Reserve Data Shows Growing Wealth Gap Based on Race
    Is The Anti-ISIS Campaign Attempting to Renew War Against Assad?
    Putting Off Immigration Reform May Backfire on Democrats
    Moments of Radicalization - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (2/8)
    US-Israel Pressure Palestine Not to Join the ICC

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting