Colombia: Reactions to Presidential Elections from the Blogosphere

The Colombian blogosphere also reacted to the outcome of the presidential elections held on May 30.

On the blog El Pellizco, otro pellizco acrónimo writes [es] about the country of “hopeful conservatives”:

Todo parece indicar que deseamos un cambio político, pero siempre ganan los mismos. En cada ciudadano habita una parte de esperanza que compite con un alter ego conservador, un egoísta más que ha recibido una buena oferta por su conciencia y que al final la vende. Las motivos de las transacciones de conciencias, de las cadenas de excepción para lograr un favor, están en la precariedad en la que vive la mayoría de la población y la carencia de alternativas de subsistencia en sociedad.

There's every indication that we want a political change, but the same people always win. Inside every citizen a piece of hope lives competing with a conservative alter ego, another selfish person who has got a good offer for their conscience and who at the end doesn't follow through. The reasons for this transaction of consciences, of the chains of exceptions to get a favour, lie on the scarcity the majority of the population lives with and the lack of alternatives for survival in society.

Woman in Colombia votes. Picture uploaded by Flickr user Globovisión, used under a Creative Commons license.

Meanwhile, Marsares from the blog equinoXio explains the success of the candidate of the ruling coalition, Juan Manuel Santos, and the reasons for the failure of centrist candidate Antanas Mockus; Marsares concludes [es] with pessimism:

Nada que hacer. Mockus perdió las elecciones de 2010, pero les queda mucho camino por delante a los verdes, constituidos en la segunda fuerza política del país. De Mockus y su equipo depende no malbaratar este inmenso capital político que puede incrementarse en segunda vuelta para fortalecerlo como un verdadero contrapeso político, aunque la diferencia abismal que le tomó Santos puede ocasionar su reducción, lo cual no deja de ser preocupante.
Empero, de hecho Mockus se convierte en el jefe de la oposición, de una oposición juiciosa que debe prepararse en estos cuatro años para convertirse en una verdadera alternativa de poder, acometiendo en primer lugar su papel fiscalizador del gobierno de Santos que muestre a propios y extraños la fortaleza de sus principios.

There's nothing to do. Mockus lost the 2010 elections, but the Greens have a long path to go now as the second political force in the country. It's up to Mockus and his team not to waste the huge political capital which can increase in the run-off to strengthen him as a true political counterweight, though the enormous distance Santos took from him may cause its reduction, which doesn't cease to be worrisome.
Still, Mockus actually becomes the head of the opposition, a sensible opposition which must prepare during the next four years to become a true alternative for power, by undertaking first of all a supervising role of the Santos administration to show everyone the strength of his principles.

Ariadna at Hoja Blanca [es] and Javier Pimentel from Revista Claroscuro [es] shared a similar point of view, a mix of pessimism and hope for a Mockus victory on the June 20 run-off; while user Miembro de Número, a Mockus supporter, is already sure [es] a new and definitive victory for Santos is coming, adding that “I had never begun an administration on the side of the opposition [before].”

lncognito writes [es] about the failure of the “green wave” in 10 points. This is one of them:

8. Autosuficiencia y soberbia, una de las grandes decepciones que me lleve de Mockus en estas elecciones fue cuando tiro el portazo a cualquier alianza o coalicion al PDA cayendo incluso en declaraciones extravagantes, estigmatizando a Petro y al Polo… Claro, en ese momento nada hacia preveer que su fulgurante ascenso en las encuestas no coincidiria con los resultados en las urnas. Hoy la realidad es otra y a Mockus le va a tocar tragarse sus palabras en la busqueda de los votos que necesitan los verdes para hacerle frente a Santos en la segunda vuelta.

8. Self-sufficiency and haughtiness, one of the things that disappointed me was when Mockus in these elections slammed the door to any alliance or coalition with [left-wing] PDA [Alternative Democratic Pole] even succumbing to extravagant remarks, stigmatizing [Gustavo] Petro and the Pole… Of course, at that time nothing could predict that his brilliant growth in the opinion polls wouldn't match with the results at the elections. Today reality is different and Mockus will have to retract his words when he looks for votes the Greens need to face Santos at the run-off.

Journalist Jaime Restrepo carefully analyses [es] the results of the elections, pointing out that the sum of the percentages of votes for Santos, conservative Noemí Sanín and centre-right Germán Vargas Lleras yields a similar figure (around 62%) to the votes President Uribe received in 2006. He also blames the second re-election bid for not allowing the victory of the ‘Uribista’ camp in the first round and highlights the poor performance of the traditional parties as a defeat for ‘anti-Uribism’. Finally, Restrepo states that the outcome of the elections sends a message to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez:

Después de todas las amenazas del parlanchín guerrerista de Miraflores contra Colombia si elige a Juan Manuel Santos. Después del apoyo que le dio José Vicente Rangel a Antanas Mockus en su programa, la cosa no les funcionó y los colombianos que son víctimas directas de las penurias generadas por la dictadura, decidieron respaldar nuevamente a quien representa la más clara posición antagónica contra Chávez y su proyecto expansionista.

After all the threats by the warmongering chatterbox at Miraflores against Colombia if Juan Manuel Santos is elected. After the support of [former Venezuelan Vice-President] José Vicente Rangel for Antanas Mockus on his [television] programme, nothing worked and Colombians who are the direct victims of the hardships caused by the dictatorship decided to again support the candidate representing the clearest contrary position against Chávez and his expansionist project.

Alejandro Peláez, on his blog El Diletante from the political website La Silla Vacía, writes [es]:

Santos podrá jugar feo y duro pero su victoria fue contundente. Ganó en todas partes, desde los municipios más paupérrimos hasta las mesas de Chicó Reservado. Ganó con el apoyo de la maquinaria, pero también con los votos de ciudadanos libres y responsables, que no son, como los pintan los de la burbuja verde, criminales o vendidos.
El primer deber de un demócrata es reconocer la derrota y respetar las reglas de juego. Valiente gracia ser los adalides de la “cultura de la legalidad” para perder una elección y salir a decir que todo fue por un fraude. Mockus no perdió por un fraude, ni por un complot de la oligarquía y tampoco fue una ficción inventada por el establecimiento como dice Piedad Cordoba. Mockus perdió porque su campaña terminó pareciendo una gran misa carismática, llena de mantras tontos y mensajes confusos.

Santos may play ugly and hard but his victory was decisive. He won everywhere, from the poorest municipalities to the polling stations of [uptown Bogotá neighbourhood] Chicó Reservado. He won with the support of the political machinery, but also with the votes of free, responsible citizens, who aren't, as the Green bubble labels them, criminals or sold out.
The first duty of a democrat is to recognize defeat and respect the rules of the game. It is easy to be the guardians of the “culture of legality,” to lose an election and claim that everything was a fraud. Mockus didn't lose because of a fraud, nor because of a complot by the oligarchy, and neither was he a fiction invented by the establishment as [Senator] Piedad Córdoba says. Mockus lost because his campaign ended up looking as a big charismatic mass, full of dumb manthras and confusing messages.

José Luis Peñarredonda wrote a post [es] on the elections as seen by his grandmother, a long-time supporter of the Liberal Party who voted for Uribe in 2002:

[M]e dijo la verdadera razón por la cual no votó por el candidato de la U. “En esa última presentación todos los demás se le fueron encima. Se nota que es un corrupto”, me dijo refiriéndose al debate del viernes. No sabía que doña Beatriz se trasnochara por la política.
Luego me contó por quién había sido su voto. “Vargas Lleras es el único de esos que tiene cara de presidente”, me dijo.

She told me the real reason why she didn't vote for the candidate of the U [Santos]. “On that last presentation, all the other candidates jumped on him. It's obvious he's corrupt,” she told me referring to the Friday night debate. I didn't know Ms Beatriz had such interest in politics.
Then she told me who she voted for. “Vargas Lleras is the only one among them who has a president's face,” she told me.


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