Thursday, October 20, 2005

Colombia: A Creeping Dictatorship? And Coke

Colombia's Supreme Court yesterday voted to allow President Alvaro Uribe his wish to rule for another term, thereby changing the Constitution. The markets and Bush Administration officials love it. Colombia's neighbor's probably don't.

Uribe has been the US's (only?) stalwart friend in the region. That pleasure costs us $3 billion of our tax dollars wasted a year. We are supposedly fighting coke cultivation and are told that the nasty lil' guerilla war has nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, cocoa plants (and refugees) have just moved to neighboring countries and supplies remain unchanged.

The Supreme Court decision has Colombia riveted right now and touched off a growing public row between Justices, with nasty accusations swirling about. The decision to give Uribe another 5 years was not unanimous and many say, had little to do with the legal merits and was all about politics. The Colombian people don't seem to mind, despite terrorist attacks being up since Uribe's been in office.

Meanwhile, there were competing regional drug summits taking place yesterday. Uribe was promoting Plan Colombia (US funded fumigation) and (shockingly) talking about ecology. This despite the lack of progress in reducing acreage or overall supply and knowing full well the environmental damage of spraying mostly non-cocoa areas and that Plan Colombia is what's pushing cocoa into sensitive refuge areas.

The US will no doubt celebrate the Court's move and the media will not be bothered to mention the hypocrisy of the US position on extension of President's terms. I seem to recall a completely different US reaction to similar moves in Belarus, in Uzbekistan and when it was tried in Zimbabwe.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home