Will our politics ever be peaceful?
Ricardo Silva Romero
El País (Spain)
Colombia can’t break out of its cycle of violence and vitriol, said Colombian journalist Ricardo Silva Romero. Every time we seem to be making progress, “there is an act of barbarism that condemns us to a land of blood.” We thought we had “overcome our habit of threatening to kill candidates” for political office. It was a tough addiction, to be sure: During the 1990 presidential election, no fewer than four candidates were assassinated. Yet we were hopeful last year, when the leftist guerrilla group FARC laid down its weapons after more than 50 years, in exchange for the right to compete in elections. But last week, FARC said it was suspending campaigning for the March legislative elections because its candidates were being pelted with rocks at rallies and threatened with death online. Another candidate, Aida Avella of the left-wing Patriotic Union, was confronted by aggressive protesters at her campaign event. And far-right former Attorney General Alejandro Ordóñez has accused two Green Party senators of being lesbians who are seeking to recruit Colombia’s daughters to their sexual orientation. The atmosphere is growing ever tenser, and it doesn’t feel like the prelude to an election, but rather the run-up to a conflagration. “How many times must this horror repeat itself in Colombia before it finally ends?” From now until the vote, we are bracing for “the worst.”