Colombian voters reject Plan Colombia

The big losers in late-October's state and municipal elections in Colombia were that nation's president Andrés Pastrana - whose party lost all 30 state governorships - and the US officials who imposed the $1.3 billion dollar "Plan Colombia" military intervention.

The Colombian people, on October 29, 2000, soundly rejected Plan Colombia, as new parties and coalitions surged forward to take half the nation's states from both leading political parties - Conservative and Liberal - in a nation that for 40 years has had a US-style two-party system.

Civil society, the power of the people, has stepped forward in Colombia to assert itself against the two political parties that have dominated that nation for four decades. What will probably not be noted in the US press is the main difference between Colombia's 1997 state and municipal elections and those held on Sunday, October 29, 2000.

In 1997 the guerrilla movement boycotted the elections. This year, they announced they would not interfere. And the right wing fell into the abyss of the ballot box.

What did happen in October's elections in Colombia? According to the daily El Espectador of Bogotá (10/30/00, and thanks to NarcoNews translation):
The steep fall of the Conservative Party (interpreted by some analysts as a punishment against the government of President Pastrana), the rise of an indigenous candidate to the Governorship of Cauca, the arrival of a shoe-shine man on the city council of Bogotá, the protest of the independent vote in the Colombian capitol and the punishment of the liberal party in Antioquia, are the most significant aspects in yesterday's regional and local elections.

The headlines from the daily El Tiempo of Bogotá (10/30/00) repeated the same:

  • Conservativism: the Great Loser in the Elections
  • The main loser in these elections was the Conservative Party
  • The Independents are those who won the most terrain
  • Coalitions are becoming more and more necessary

Adding flavor to the new political possibilities is the election of the Indigenous Governor of Cauca, Floro Tunubalá, whose platform of governing is notable in its critique of "Plan Colombia" and in favor of manual (not chemical) eradication of illicit crops. The entire South of the country could generate a contradictory dynamic, between the plans of the President, the insurgency and paramilitaries, and platforms of the new governors, say other reports coming out of Colombia.

Is this the moment to say that President Andrés Pastrana has lost all legitimacy in Colombia because he sold out to Washington?

According to NarcoNews reports, Pastrana's position was weakened considerably on Election Day relative to the guerrilla forces. Though under-armed, the guerrilla in the first weeks of Plan Colombia has won more military battles than it has lost, and the Armed Forces have suffered more casualties than the guerrilla.

A negotiated peace is the only way out. In sum, here is the situation:

  • The Colombian people have rejected the policy of drug war militarization pushed by Washington and accepted by Pastrana.
  • The majority of Colombians have cast their votes: No to Plan Colombia.
  • Regionally, the political left surged in October's municipal elections in Brazil.
  • The US-imposed drug war - for its hypocrisy, its damage to the environment, to human rights, and to democracy - is losing ground in Central and South America every day.

There is no justice in the war on drugs.

Thanks to
NarcoNews.Com and Al Giordano for this story.

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