As Uribe's chances of reelection diminish , US faces formidable regional challenges
By Aleksander Boyd
London 26.06.05 | Colombia's president Alvaro Uribe faces mounting opposition from what it seems to be a united front of the liberal party and other more preoccupying factors. A coalition of former presidents -Cesar Gaviria, Ernesto Samper and Andres Pastrana- seems to have found common ground, leaving behind past rivalries, to attack the policies and performance of former party member Alvaro Uribe. Recent appointments aside, that of Cesar Gaviria as party leader, it remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to agglutinate enough votes against the current president, whose prospects of getting re-elected look promising -should the Constitutional Court rules in favour of approving the necessary constitutional amendment- given the high level of support and popularity he enjoys. There are however other elements that must be considered.
Due to procedural methods the decision of the Constitutional Court, even if favourable to Uribe's aspirations, will take some time to materialise, which could impede the timely inscription for the presidential race of Uribe. There are other constitutional reforms, such as prohibition to public office holders to participate in politics; modification to the campaign financing mechanisms, that need be passed. To make the amendment workable Colombian jurists believe that both the Penal and the Disciplinary Codes and the Regime of Incompatibilities must also be reformed. Ergo, due to time constraints, Uribe's chances are slim.
Then one has to observe the swelling movement building around Bogota's leftist Mayor Lucho Garzón, who, gossip has it, it's the favourite in Caracas and Havana, and without a doubt has signed already in 'Mision la Nueva Gran Colombia' and -as Evo Morales, the Ortegas, the Humalas, Lopez Obrador and the duet Gutierrez/Bucaram- is likely to benefit from Venezuelan petrodollars and expert chavista advice on how to bring about 'democratic revolutions' successfully.
The FARC, ensconced for a while, have reemerged of late to make Uribe's Patriot Plan look like a failure. Reinvigorated, after much needed rest and pampering in Venezuelan soil, the narcoterrorists have recently engaged in fierce battles with Colombia's army which has added yet more casualties to the very long list of victims in their war against the state. Raul Reyes, spokesman of the narcoterrorist group, should have been very upset when he wrote recently that FARC's archenemy Alvaro Uribe "...pretends to perpetuate himself in power..." Similar perpetuating wishes of camarada Hugo Chavez and the 46 years that the Cuban tyrant and idelogical guru of the FARC has in power, are, of course, no matter for concern.
The US hegemony and clout in the region are on an increasingly weak footing. The fact that the big South American players -Brazil and Mexico- are either governed, or to be governed, by friends of Castro/Chavez poses a huge challenge to the US administration, which needs be said, does not seem to count with the brightest of diplomats and strategists in its foreign service. The question of throwing its weight behind Alvaro Uribe can and will make the difference between a region gearing towards prosperity, democracy and the reestablishment of the rule of law or a continent plagued with revolutions a la Bolivarian. The consequences of having upwards of 500 million people ruled by deranged leaders will be dire for the US, whether it wants to realize the gravity of the situation or continues with the policy of appeasement and leniency. For the vast majority of Latinos willing to emigrate will find their way north. Thus the US administration should act now or prepare for an ever growing invasion.
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