Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Colombia security key as President Santos hits mid-term

President Juan Manuel Santos says he always knew that governing Colombia would be a tough assignment.

“I expected the difficulties I’ve faced. It has been difficult. But I was aware it would be that way,” he told the BBC, as he prepared to start the second half of his four-year term on 7 August.

This milestone finds Santos’s popularity at an all-time low, down from some 83% last November to 47% now, according to the latest opinion polls.

- Advertisement -

This low rating is despite the fact that Colombia’s economic performance under his helm would be the envy of many a nation.

The past two years have seen Colombia continue the past decade of strong economic performances, with growth averaging around 5% and inflation kept low.

And according to official figures, some 1.2 million Colombians have moved out of poverty since 2010.

And with Santos in the presidency Colombia has become a business destination, attracting some US$13.2bn (£8.4bn) in direct foreign investment last year alone.

- Advertisement -

“More than two million new jobs created in the last two years, in the current international context, is quite an accomplishment,” said Santos,

“But maybe we haven’t been effective enough in explaining and showcasing our achievements,” he told the BBC.
Constant criticism

Santos’s fall in popularity, however, seems to result mainly from his handling of the longstanding Colombian armed conflict, which many believe will make or break his legacy.

After taking office, he said he was willing to open peace talks with the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) and other armed groups, provided certain conditions were met.

That was a marked change from the policies of his tremendously popular predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, who, as a result, broke with Santos and has been aggressively criticising him ever since.

Last year, under President Santos, Colombia also enacted a controversial law that aims to compensate an estimated four million victims of the armed conflict.

- Advertisement -

It allows damages to be paid to relatives of those killed, and seeks to restore stolen land to its rightful owners.

But the surge in Farc attacks registered under  Santos’s government seems to have convinced most Colombians that the security situation is quickly deteriorating under his watch, while also making his dreams of a negotiated peace look naive.
‘Clear aims’

The Colombian president, not surprisingly, sees things differently.

Santos acknowledges that there has been an increase in rebel attacks.

“However, it has a lot to do with us finally having a presence in places that had been under guerrilla control for the past 40, 45 years,” he told the BBC.

“That generates a series of reactions that, in turn, make people feel less safe. But if we look at specific indicators, such as murders per 100,000 inhabitants, we have the lowest figures of the last 30 years.”

Perception or reality, getting the security situation right will certainly be one of the main challenges of the second half of Santos’s presidency.

But he does not seem ready to abandon his more ambitious dream of achieving peace.

Santos says the rebels have not yet met his conditions for entering talks.

“Let’s say there have been steps in that direction, but they’re not sufficient yet,” he said.

But after two years in office, his outlook seems to be more optimistic than many of his fellow Colombians.

“I know what I want to do with this country, I have clear aims and I will achieve them,” President Santos told BBC Mundo.

Santos has so far refused to be drawn on whether he will seek another term come 2014.

- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of onlinemagazines that includes TodayColombia.com. Rico brings his special kind of savvy to online marketing. His websites are engaging, provocative, informative and sometimes off the wall, where you either like or you leave it. The same goes for him, like him or leave him.There is no middle ground. No compromises, only a passion to present reality as he sees it!

Related Articles

Bogotá, Medellín and Cali: the cities with the most violations of measures against covid-19

QCOLOMBIA - Since the mandatory isolation began in Colombia, 1,400,387 finess...

What happens if a Colombian does not attend the scheduled covid-19 vaccination appointment?

QCOLOMBIA - A few days after starting the National Vaccination Plan,...


What happens if a Colombian does not attend the scheduled covid-19 vaccination appointment?

QCOLOMBIA - A few days after starting the National Vaccination Plan, Colombians still have some doubts regarding their immunization process and there is fear...

We do not move even half the passengers we would have on a normal day: Transmilenio manager

QCOLOMBIA - The public transport system in Colombia has been one of the worst-hit sectors since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as quarantines...

Colombia Suffered Its Deepest Slump Since 1905 Last Year

(Bloomberg) -- Colombia’s economy suffered its deepest contraction in more than a century last year, leaving it wracked by soaring debt, mass unemployment and...

Colombia receives first batch of vaccines

QCOLOMBIA - Colombia advanced the start of the immunization campaign against the coronavirus to February 17, three days ahead of schedule, after receiving the...

There’s A Good Chance Your Valentine’s Flowers Come From Colombia

QCOLOMBIA - If you send a bouquet of roses for Valentine's Day, chances are they were grown in Colombia. It remains the No. 1...

Colombia begins 2021 with a reactivation of 55% in flights

QCOLOMBIA - The end of the year travel season arrived with important expectations of recovery for the tourism sector. The improvement in the tourist...

Pope thanks Colombia for efforts to protect migrants

Q REDAQTED (Vatican News) - “I always look with gratitude at the efforts of those who work for migrants,” Pope Francis said on Sunday...

Colombia okays US$38 billion dollar reactivation plan

QCOLOMBIA - Colombia’s economic and social policy council (Conpes) has greenlighted a 135 trillion Colombian peso (US$38 billion) economic reactivation plan, which will be...

Colombian Clever Leaves made first shipment of medical cannabis to the U.S.

QCOLOMBIA - Clever Leaves, a Colombian company authorized to handle pharmaceutical grade cannabinoids, announced that its subsidiary, Herbal Brands, managed to establish a strategic...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!