The Results of Colombia’s General Election

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

In the general election for Colombia’s Congress, right wing parties have won the majority of the seats although they fell short of retaining a majority in the the Congress. Former members of the FARC, the leftist guerrilla organization that had fought the Colombian government for over 50 years and had signed a peace treaty in 2016 to form their own party, only received .05 percent of the total votes cast. However, according to the peace treaty, former members of the FARC, who are now in the democratic socialist party the Alternative Democratic Pole, have been guaranteed five seats in the Colombian Congress regardless of the vote. Hence, even though they have only five seats, those five seats could prove crucial in any legislation brought before the Congress. So in some sense the former FARC officials do have a stake in how to fix Colombia.

This election is one of the most important milestones in Colombia’s long and tortuous history. Rebuilding the country will be a major concern in dealing with the ruins, the lives shattered, and the damaged and destroyed infrastructure that still scars the countryside. One of the reasons why the former FARC did so poorly is because many Colombians feel they should be made to pay for their crimes in the civil war. Whatever the raw feelings that remain on both sides, most government officials feel it is more necessary to move the country forward and not deal with recriminations at this particular time (bear in mind that many Colombians who had supported the FARC also feel as much antipathy for the government and the right wing death squads). This will all be easier said than done because bitter feelings and hate remains on both sides, and trying to provide help for all Colombians is more of a theory than a reality in a country that still remains deeply divided along political and social lines. The only three positive things that can be said about what is happening in Colombia today is that a peace treaty was signed and has ended a bitter and bloody 50 year civil war, has at least helped in the first national elections where even the former rebels were allowed to participate, and most important of all has allowed a semblance of normalcy for business to grow and thrive and for towns and cities to again rebuild and provide their residents with hope and a more normal pattern of life.

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