Ouster of Bogotá Mayor Petro Gustavo turns U.S., FARC into apparent, momentary allies
It’s not every day the U.S. government comes down on the same side of an argument as Colombia´s FARC guerrillas, but the sacking of Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro over poor garbage service has the two looking a little like allies.
After Petro – a former M-19 guerrilla leader who was imprisoned and tortured in his previous incarnation – was sacked as the Bogotá mayor on Monday over alleged poor garbage collection in Colombia´s biggest city, the FARC decried the damage done to the peace process currently being negotiated in Havana, Cuba.
M-19 gave up its armed struggle against Colombia´s elite in the late 1980s. In return for handing over its weapons its members received pardons and the right to participate in politics. Even when its first presidential candidate was assassinated, they stuck strictly to their political guns.
That Petro was elected Bogotá mayor in January 2012 was evidence for many Colombians that M-19 made the right move.
Now that Petro has been ousted in what he and others are calling a “coup” many doubt whether politics really is an option for the left in Colombia. Even many of his political opponents say his removal and banishment from politics for 15 years was an overreaction, possibly unconstitutional and politically motivated.
More evidence is mounting daily that his removal was orchestrated by the extreme right, who are enemies of the peace process and victims of Petro´s anti-corruption campaigns.
Certainly FARC negotiators in Havana and those still fighting in the mountains and jungles might be wondering what chance they really have of changing Colombia if they give up their guns and return to politics.
In November, the FARC and Colombian government negotiators reached agreement on an accord which would allow FARC members to turn, and in some cases return, to political life if they can reach a general peace agreement.
Now they are wondering if peaceful tactics really can prevail in Colombia.
Petro has not yet given up on retaining his position as Bogotá mayor. He has called on Colombians to amass in the biggest demonstration in the history of Bogotá.
For more information, please read:In Spanish: http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/bogota/proximo-embajador-de-eeuu-colombia-cuestiona-destitucio-articulo-463550