The Protest of a De-Democratized Colombia
In September of 2020, seven people were killed during their demonstrations against the influx of corruption in Colombia, following the death of a man that was unlawfully killed by the police force. The nation of Colombia is currently in a state of unrest that is centered around constant protesting for displeasure over government actions in a calling for anti-violence. Matters around the recent protests are made even more complicated because of some elected officials being in favor of the peaceful protesting and others certainly condemning the actions of the people. In the same sense the policing in response to the civil unrest has become very violent to the extent that international attention has been drawn to the matters around why people are protesting in the first place. The working of authors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt in elaborating within the book “How democracies die” directly address the issue that exists in Colombia with regard to the government and incompetent presidency with no checks on the presidential authority that blatantly ignores the dire needs of the people. The protests are an initiative and calling of the people that want more out of their government that is working for them and rightfully so; basic calls for a minimum pay wage, benefits for healthcare, and protections for rural communities that are being murdered at the hands of drug traffickers, are very much so basic requests to protect the people. Significant amounts of analysis are currently in place to describe the way and how the process of democracy in Colombia have become attacked when comparing our understanding of what a stable democracy looks like. Especially when we define democracy regarding the course reading on the 7 core principles of democracy by V-dem methodology; the liberal principle of democracy, being the main violation in the case of Colombia in which the individual and minority rights are not being protected or valued in state repression.
The Attack on Democracy
The string of protests that have occurred across the past two years in Colombia is a result of the historical amount of corruption regarding its holding president and elected officials. Aspects of bribery, extortion, and abuse of office in bribery of public officials. Even regarding peaceful demonstration, the way peaceful protests were handled in the nation of Colombia were violent and brute in nature that raised questions of human rights investigations, while also leading to much more deliberate and calculated protests by the people. One of the most essential aspects of democracy is the ability for the people to call out the government that is supposed to work and represent for them and their best interests. These protests are due to callings for tax reform and human rights violations, as well as differing opinions over democracy. There has been a huge bout of unrest as well over income inequality as the riche continue to stretch farther in riches and the poor get poorer, when the 1% percent account for over most of the nation’s wealth as reported by the U.S. and World Report news. Colombia’s new President Ivan Duque has significant issues to address since his election in 2018, a task that he has significantly failed in resulting in the outcry of the people, especially following former president Uribe that was also held responsible for unwarranted levels of corruption that enabled a billion-dollar drug trafficking ring and despite that still holds an extraordinarily strong voice in the political spectrum of Colombia. Despite President Duque falling into a pit of his own corruption, in a sense he was already thrown into a pit of fire when he took one step in office. Although there are signs of hope for the people of Colombia, in which their new Minister of Defense Diego Molano went as far as to highlight drug trafficking and illegal mining as the biggest threats to democracy in the affluence of his nation, aside from aspects of corruption within the presidency and election processes. The illegal trafficking as cocaine has certainly wreaked havoc as a billion-dollar underground business that also has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths throughout the nation.
The violent way the government of Colombia has handled peaceful protests across its nations by citizens demanding fundamental assistance is a clear violation of democracy against its own people. The pitfalls of Colombia are certainly being recognized and policies and steps have been taken internally and on an international scale amongst the United Nations to implement change. As we further define what it means to develop into a democratic nation, we know that no nation can be perfect in its development. The United States as well has dedicated over 400 million dollars to the investment into the peace-infrastructural development of Colombia; entailed in that is public services, development, justice institutions, and towards the development of violent areas within Colombia as defined by defense minister Santos back in 2016. Although, the remnants of violence and corruption still supersede the desire to uphold democracy within the Presidency of Colombia.