World View: Colombia’s President Ivan Duque Takes Office Amidst Accusations from Venezuela

FARC deal looms large over Colombia presidential poll
AFP Luis ACOSTA
JOHN J. XENAKIS

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Colombia’s president Ivan Duque takes office amidst accusations from Venezuela
  • Brief generational history of Colombia

Colombia’s president Ivan Duque takes office amidst accusations from Venezuela

A new president took office in Colombia on Tuesday of last week. Right-wing Ivan Duque took office, replacing left-wing Juan Manuel Santos. The inauguration occurred in the midst of a major diplomatic clash between Colombia and Venezuela.

Last weekend on Saturday evening, a live drama unfolded on nationwide TV in Venezuela. Socialist President Nicolás Maduro, was giving a televised speech when suddenly he stopped speaking and looked up at the sky. Two drones armed with explosives detonated near Maduro, who, however, was not hurt. Three hours later, he was on nationwide tv again, saying:

“I am fine, I am alive, and after this attack I’m more determined than ever to follow the path of the revolution. … I have no doubt that the name Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack.”

According to Maduro, Santos acted in coordination with the former president of the Venezuelan Parliament, Julio Borges, who had been in the political opposition to Maduro.

Last year, the Socialist Maduro dissolved the democratically elected parliament and replaced with a “Constituent Assembly” consisting of Maduro’s political cronies. Last week, the Constituent Assembly revoked the immunity that Borges had as an opposition lawmaker, and the Supreme Court called for his arrest. However, Borges has apparently fled Venezuela. According to Maduro, Borges had fled to Colombia.

Now Maduro is demanding that Colombia and the United States extradite Borges and other opposition lawmakers that have fled to those countries. These extradition requests have been refused.

On Thursday, the European Union in Brussels issued a statement on the drone attack:

“The latest events have further inflated the tensions in Venezuela. The European Union rejects any form of violence and expects that a comprehensive and transparent investigation of Saturday´s drone attack is conducted to establish the facts, in full respect for the rule of law and for human rights.

In this regard, the EU expects the recognition of the National Assembly’s constitutional powers, including the full respect of its prerogatives concerning the parliamentary immunity of its members, in line with established constitutional rights, legislation and procedures.

The EU reiterates its support for a negotiated, democratic and peaceful solution for the multiple crises affecting the country as the only way forward. This needs to encompass a return to constitutional normality restoring democratic process and the rule of law, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, release of all political prisoners, and addressing the pressing humanitarian needs of the population.”

This statement infuriated Maduro. According to Maduro , Santos acted in coordination with Borges, “who receives the order, the resources, the logistics, the support and the plan [and] is the one who takes responsibility for the history of assassinating the president.”

Maduro condemned the statement by the EU:

“It is truly deplorable the communique of the European Union, they go out to protect the terrorists, in their communiqué they protect the terrorists, in their communique they are not capable of condemning the attack that had as objective to assassinate the president of this country.”

Thanks to Socialist policies, Venezuela is suffering the worst economic depression ever recorded in Latin America. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 16.5 percent in 2016 and 12 percent in 2017, and forecasts a 15 percent contraction for 2018. Inflation reached more than 2,600 percent in 2017, the highest in the world by a wide margin, and the IMF forecasts 13,000 percent for 2018.

Thanks to the Socialist policies, Venezuelans are starving, and are unable to feed their kids or obtain medicines to care for them when they’re sick. The Socialist government of Venezuela has created a massive refugee problem that’s destabilizing the entire region. By some estimates, 35,000 Venezuelan refugees flee across the border into Colombia every day, although many return after acquiring basic items, like food. Some one million are staying in Colombia. About 4,000 migrants enter Ecuador every day, fleeing violence in Venezuela. Brazil has taken in over 41,000 Venezuelans.

Every Socialist government in history has failed, either peacefully or disastrously. Even Cuba has given up Socialism. The only two Socialist governments left are Venezuela and North Korea. However, Venezuela destabilizing the entire region, and with Maduro making threatening accusations like the one last week, it’s possible that Venezuela’s Socialist government will end with war. AFP and Europa (EU) and Diario Las Americas (Trans) and Al Jazeera

Brief generational history of Colombia

The Trump administration has high hopes for Ivan Duque, because Duque has promised to tackle the drug problem. Last year, president Trump suggested stopping aid to countries that are “pouring” drugs into the US. In Colombia, some 209,000 hectares (516,500 acres) of land are used to grow coca, the principal ingredient used to manufacture cocaine. Colombia is the largest cocaine producer in the world.

Colombia’s last generational crisis war was shared with Venezuela. It was called “La Violencia,” or the Colombian Revolt, 1948-1959. More than 200,000 persons lost their lives and more than a billion dollars of property damage was done.

As we’ve written many times in the past, when a generational crisis war is an ethnic or tribal civil war, it really never ends. One side may force the other into submission, but the people on both sides are traumatized by the murders, mutilations, rapes, and torturing that they performed on people who lived in the same cities and even on the same streets, where the mothers exchanged recipes and the children played together. All the survivors continue to feel the lingering horror of the atrocities that were committed on both sides. After the war ends, there is continuing sporadic violence as we’ve described in many countries, including Syria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Burundi, Congo, and others.

In post-war Colombia, the government confiscated small farms in order to create large farms, but in doing so left large pools of unemployed people.

By the mid-1960s. two Marxist-Leninist guerrilla terrorist groups had formed: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN). Both groups have massive criminal histories, using drug trafficking, violence, bombings, murders, kidnappings for ransom, and extortion as sources of leverage and income. Billions of dollars of income have been derived from the sale of narcotics each year. In the last 50 years, as many as 220,000 people are dead, 25,000 are disappeared, and 5.7 million are displaced.

In December 2016, the government signed a peace agreement with the FARC. The agreement ended much of the violence, but it was highly controversial because it specified that all FARC members would walk free with no punishment for the 50 years of horrific crimes, which infuriated the relatives of the violence by the FARC. Duque made a campaign promise to revise and renegotiate the peacekeeping deal to provide for the relatives of the victims.

Duque has also promised to fix the drug problem:

“We will be effective in the eradication and substitution of illegal crops, accompanied by productive opportunities [for farmers].”

That remains to be seen. Other attempts to reduce coca production have failed. Coca production surged to historically high levels in 2017, and among the reasons is a crop-substitution program tied to Colombia’s peace deal that offered incentives to coca farmers to switch to legal crops. Those incentives were so lucrative that some rural dwellers planted more coca to earn more cash. In addition, Colombia in 2015 banned aerial spraying of coca crops after a determination that the herbicide being used could cause cancer in humans. Duque is committed to be much more aggressive, including a return to using the banned herbicide. Stanford Univ and Insight Crime and Council on Foreign Relations (11-Jan-2017) and Washington Post

Related articles:

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Colombia, Ivan Duque, Jose Manuel Santos, Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, Julio Borges, La Violencia, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC, National Liberation Army, Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN
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