Colombia election may not settle anything
President Santos of Colombia was reelected with 51% of the vote over the weekend, as reported by The New York Times:
Mr. Santos’s victory came after an exceptionally bitter campaign between two members of the country’s right-of-center political establishment, in which both sides traded accusations of dirty tricks, including spying, hacked emails and the use of drug money.
Mr. Santos, 62, cast himself as the peace candidate and made the negotiations with the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the centerpiece of his campaign.
In the last week of the race, Mr. Santos announced that he had begun preliminary talks with a second, smaller guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, offering the prospect of a comprehensive peace that could, if successful, end decades of jungle battles, bomb attacks, kidnappings and political killings. Despite Sunday’s optimistic tone, the talks with FARC have dragged on for more than 18 months.
Mr. Zuluaga and his backers charged that Mr. Santos was willing to give away too much to achieve peace, and they warned that guerrilla leaders could skip jail time or other punishment for their activities.
I agree with Mr Zuluaga. President Santos has given away too much to negotiate with people who have never negotiated in good faith before.
The other issue is that Mr Santos put together a coalition that got him reelected but may not be in the same corner when it comes to governing. There were elements of the left and right in his coalition.
We wish our friends in Colombia the best. At the same time, it's hard to see how this election settled anything. There are still big divisions in the country and this election didn't fix any of that.
P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.