Colombia: Been there, done that

So the question is will Colombia succumb to the ongoing siege orchestrated in Venezuela and carried out by its minions in Colombia who are supported through illicit means? And the answer is: most probably yes. In the aftermath of a pandemic that has depleted public treasuries throughout the world tools to reignite growth are very limited.
Beatrice E. Rangel.
Like most members of families from the Andean region of Venezuela which stretches along the Colombian border one of my grandparents was from that nation. Colombia has thus been part of my emotional metabolism. As a child I heard grandma Mantilla describe the horror it was when Liberals and Conservatives were at war from mid-19th century up and until the 1950s. All homes in agricultural fields of Colombia had cellars to hide families and spare them from death, sexual abuse and torture when soldiers from either gang would take over the territory. Grandma used to praise political leaders that engaged in a national pact to bring violence to an end. In the aftermath of the National Pact Colombia enjoyed a over 70 years of stability and growth. Like most Latin American nations growth has never been robust enough to employ the growing population; education has lost relevance to job creation and infrastructure lags behind the needs of foreign trade. But on the shinny side of its recent development Colombia had up to recent days been a country where citizens abided by the rule of law.
All these progress is about to be shattered as Colombians seem to have turned against civilization to adopt the socialist credo of neighboring Venezuela. At least that is the story news reels coming from Colombia bring to our seating rooms . People burning to ashes one of the best designed transportation systems for the middle classes. Yet others spitting fire into a police car with policemen inside and the senseless destruction of statues and trees in parks that are the Sunday destination ofor those that cannot afford to pay fees to a private club.Given reason for these violent and destructive rallies was an attempted and recalled tax reform put forward by President Duque in the aftermath of Covid19.
As violence paraded through the streets of Colombia my mind flashed bac to February 1989. Then I was deputy chief of staff to President Carlos Andres Perez and his administration after a thorough impact study of the subsidy to gasoline drew the conclusion that it had to be recalled. Studies showed the beneficiaries of the subsidy to be the upper middle classes and the wealthy who were filling their tanks at prices that did not cover production costs. In fact, Venezuela would end importing gasoline should the subsidy continue. Impact upon public transportation was meant to be muffled by a direct subsidy to users of that means . That would have been cheaper to the state and better for public transportation as demand for this means would grow. The subsidy was to be phased out gradually with the first alignment of 3% taking place February 1989. The story on the streets however was the reverse. Citizens were convinced through a very impressive and effective narrative that suspension of the subsidy was intended to damage the budget of lower middle classes and the poor. Protests flourished all over the country evolving into looting and burning of buildings; squares and vehicles. Destabilization of what up to that moment was the democracy showcase of Latin America had begun . Needless to describe the end of this movie as 6 million Venezuelan migrants that have lost their country to violence; poverty and disease can bear witness to the effectiveness of the take over strategy by the party of resentment and crime.
So the question is will Colombia succumb to the ongoing siege orchestrated in Venezuela and carried out by its minions in Colombia who are supported through illicit means? And the answer is: most probably yes. In the aftermath of a pandemic that has depleted public treasuries throughout the world tools to reignite growth are very limited. Even acquisition of vaccines to eliminate Covid 19 is doubtful And as economic recovery falters and vaccination moves at glacier speed people become increasingly unhappy and confused. This creates a favorable ambiance to those that are striving to bring down democracy and initiate a stage of totalitarianism cum support to crime Inc. that will most certainly generate billions to its sponsors while destroying one of he oldest democracies in Latin America.
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