The France factor

Every day it is clearer that the presidential elections will not be a profound renewal of Colombian politics, as was the illusion of so many citizens. In all the cars of the race, traditional politics is a passenger.

That is evident in the Team for Colombia, which has figures such as Alejandro Char, Dilian Francisca Toro, David Barguil and, perhaps later, Óscar Iván Zuluaga. It is somewhat less evident in the Centro Esperanza Coalition, but there they go, for example, Juan Fernando Cristo and Jorge Robledo. And it is strident in the Historical Pact, which, from a platform of feigned rejection of the usual politicians, opened its arms to Roy Barreras, Armando Benedetti and, now, it seems that the Antioqueño cacique Luis Pérez, who seeks to compete in the consultation of March.

The case of the Pact is to study it in the faculties of political science. Or in those of psychiatry: already in the module of schizophrenia, already in the one of Machiavellianism. His entire speech had been based on the repudiation of the machinery with which he now merges in tasty copulation. One of its most recognized members, Senator Gustavo Bolívar, excused the sin with big alarms: “ONLY WE CANNOT.” The flame of supposed moral superiority was extinguished under a shower of cold realpolitik.

Nor is it to rip your clothes off. It is good that bets are honest and played with the cards uncovered. But not a few voters have felt disappointed by the accommodative drift of Petrism. To appease them, the Pact has an ace up its sleeve. An ace named Francia Márquez.

Márquez is a prominent feminist, environmental activist, and human rights fighter. In 2018 he won the Goldman Prize, considered the ‘Nobel’ in ecology. She is a woman of convictions, who speaks firmly. She is also of African descent, which, added to her gender, is a plus in the current scenario of identity politics and the search for claims for communities that have suffered discrimination. In short, while the possibility that the Petrist referendum will win is remote, Márquez can be an attractive teammate for any movement that claims to be progressive. So much so that Ingrid Betancourt invited her to join the Centro Esperanza Coalition.

That would be a big mistake for the ‘hopefuls’. Márquez is openly anti-capitalist, more radical than Petro economically, and that, in the Colombian context, is an extreme position that would not fit into a coalition that calls itself the center.

Marquez did not accept, of course. It’s better where it is. Its ideology is closer to the Pact, where, in addition, it is called to resolve the tension between the principles proclaimed by the movement and its increasingly notorious ‘anything goes’ policy. With Márquez in the March consultation, voters who feel disappointed by the alliances that the leader of the Historical Pact has accepted will be able to vote for her, knowing that Petro will be the anointed one anyway. The latter is important, since Márquez, due to her extreme positions and her relatively low recognition among Colombian society, is not a viable candidate for the presidency. Then, on the day of the first round, those same voters will elect Petro with a clear conscience, saying to themselves: ‘To tell the truth, I liked France more, but since it didn’t stay, I’m going to vote for Petro, because, Well, he played. ‘ In this way, by art of birlibirloque, all unholy adhesions that the Pact has attracted will be sanitized.

For a movement that proclaims itself anti-establishment and anti-political, it is playing system and politicking better than its most seasoned professionals. Chapó.

On twitter: @tways

(Read all Thierry Ways columns in EL TIEMPO here).

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The France factor