photo 1In recent years I’ve been living in South America and writing occasional articles that touch on human rights and social issues in Latin America. Recently, I’ve been in Colombia.

Colombia Moves Toward New Era

Juan Manuel Santos has won a tight race for a second four-year term as president of Colombia. Many feel this provides the opportunity to achieve peace soon, and perhaps, turn the page on 50 years of  suffering and violence. But the close race also shows that the right wing forces of former President Alvaro Uribe will continue to threaten a step backward toward the ultra-conservative policies of the past. Oscar Ivan Zuluaga of the Uribe-backed Centro Democratico defeated Santos in the first round election May 25, and he lost to Santos in the second round, June 15, by only 5%, garnering 6.9 million votes.  The Colombian Left threw the decisive support to Santos in the second round election which Santos won with 7.8 million votes — 50.9% of the total . Whether the Santos regime will reciprocate with any change in the neoliberal policies that the Left has been opposing during the first term (2010-2014) remains to be seen. While the presidential elections complete an important and historic win over the Colombian extreme right the battle is far from over. Colombia will now continue a period of intense political activity as the peace process moves forward. A new congress entering office, July 20th, and upcoming governor and mayoral elections in 2015, provide the backdrop to further define Colombia’s political future. Roads to Resistance will be following Colombia as it struggles into a new era  — Ronald J. Morgan


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