Saturday, April 25, 2015

Santos, Uribe, and the Colombian Military

Unfortunately, the public battle between President Juan Manuel Santos and former President Alvaro Uribe regarding a peace deal with the FARC may be leading to a split in the Colombian armed forces.

Uribe is relentless, using every means of communication to undermine his former protégé. He's on Twitter daily dishing it out to his 3.7 million followers--just yesterday he complained about Santos insulting his mother.

This has sucked in the military, members of which have become more public with their views. Santos is trying to convince them that peace is good for the country and for the military, while Uribe pushes the notion that the FARC are terrorists who must be defeated only by force. He frames Santos as traitorous, deceitful, and weak.

It would be interesting to compare this situation to others in the region, particularly the end of Central American wars. In those cases the military was highly politicized, more so than Colombia. That would decrease once a peace accord is implemented, but what are the potential long-term impacts? Since the Colombian military has not been political, hopefully it can weather this difficult period and adjust to peace.


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