Six days and counting, that’s what it says on the huge digital and illuminated Zuluaga stopwatch placed on his campaign headquarters in Chapinero, Bogotá. Six Days and counting until the electorate (hopefully more than those who deemed it appropriate in the first round) decide on the least worst candidate to run the country for the next four years.
In my post “Revolution has Evolved in Colombia“, I said: Whoever is installed in the Palacio de Narino after May 25 (now June 15) will be responsible for overseeing a massive social transition in Colombia. The Colombian 99 per cent is awake and is aware.
I stand by this statement and feel the requirement and overwhelming desire on a bleak Sunday evening to express a couple of other sentiments.
- The Government’s negotiating team and the FARC guerrillas have come to an agreement to set up a truth commission to investigate the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the long-running civil conflict. This is clearly the thorniest item on the negotiating agenda and one that could ultimately lead to reconciliation and a real step forward in transitional justice. Either candidate, Juan Manuel Santos or Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, would be advised to continue with this commission and not make it a puppet entity like in Guatemala.
- There will be a serious and profound period of collective soul-searching in Colombia if the team fails to achieve a positive result on June 14 in the World Cup against Greece in their opening game. Colombia may well end up being the South American team which underachieves in this competition (Before my trolls comment, England always underachieves). Remember, the second round of the elections is on June 15. Everything counts.
This a deeply emotional time for the right reasons and wrong reasons here in Colombia. Colombians are being mobilized as if they are voting for or against peace. It shouldn’t be this way. We shouldn’t be pointing at neighbours and suggesting that as “they are voting for Zuluaga, they don’t want peace.” Just as those backing Zuluaga shouldn’t pick a fight with Santistas for “selling out the country to the guerrillas.” There has to be a middle ground. Clearly the Blairite Santos would love to consider himself as just this, but, sadly he has fallen very short.
Then, the football world cup. Colombians and indeed the world is going to receive a ringside seat at some of the largest and most impressive demonstrations held at an event of this type. And rightly so. May Colombia learn from Brazil. The emotions will run deep during the Colombia games and the ugly beast that is the narco culture that saw fit to assassinate Andres Escobar will hopefully come under close scrutiny. Let’s put some joy back in the beautiful game.
Six days and counting.