El Salado, 10 years later The IAHRC on human rights in Venezuela
Feb 242010

Update as of 2:45PM Thursday: The “La Silla Vacía” website, which practices serious journalism and is unlikely to blow its credibility on a story likely to be quickly proven incorrect, is reporting that the referendum does not have the votes in the Constitutional Court and that “Uribe will not be able to run for re-election.”

Update as of 5:15PM: Rumor is that the court will announce its decision on Friday. No new information about what they might decide.

El Tiempo reports that Colombia’s Constitutional Court, in session right now, is near a decision on the legality of a referendum to allow President Álvaro Uribe to run for a third term. That decision could come today.

Sources in the Constitutional Court confirmed to El Tiempo that yesterday, in what was the fifth hearing about the referendum, a majority trend was revealed in favor of the position of Judge Humberto Sierra Porto, which proposes to reject the initiative.

The same sources even said that the court’s decision, which will resolve the greatest political crossroads of recent years, could come in today’s session, or next Friday’s at the latest.

If the court finds against the referendum, somebody other than Álvaro Uribe will be elected president on May 30 (or in a subsequent second round). Stay tuned.

16 Responses to “Re-election decision could come today”

  1. Jaime Bustos Says:


  2. Alvaro Hurtado Says:


    This, like far too many other “false positive” cases, took place in 2005, when the Defense Minister was not JM Santos. Who would have thought?

  3. Tambopaxi Says:

    Hope no third term. Uribe’s done reasonably good job, but Presidents with three or more terms are not healthy for the shaky democracies we have down here.

  4. Alvaro Hurtado Says:

    Much less when the process to push this referendum through was less than strictly legal, with numerous procedural errors and tricks, which is the basic reason it should struck down by the Court even if Uribe somehow was all roses.

  5. Stuart Says:

    Good riddance to one of the most despicable politicians in this hemisphere. It’s amazing that, despite the numerous scandals that have plagued his administration over the years and been documented on this blog, people can still say he’s “done a reasonably good job.”

  6. Julian Says:

    “Good riddance to one of the most despicable politicians in this hemisphere. It’s amazing that, despite the numerous scandals that have plagued his administration over the years and been documented on this blog, people can still say he’s “done a reasonably good job.” ”


  7. Alvaro Hurtado Says:

    Sure, though one could say similar things about Chávez, whose administration has been full of scandals and controversial events in his own Venezuelan context, but would you go ahead and call him a despicable politican, Stuart and Julian? I’d like to know.

  8. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Please allow the prediction of a simple mind. If I know how things work in the Colombian territory, and by extension in the worldwide soap opera, the referendum viability will pass at the Colombian Congress: at the last minute three magistrates will change their vote. Analysis in colombian magazines will overflow pages of (dis)information explaining the layman what really happened and the Lord shall be with y’all. — An the “Empty Chair” will not see it coming.

  9. Cousin of Colombian President Arrested For Alleged Ties With Paramilitaries | Latin America News Dispatch Says:

    [...] Constitutional court is expected to rule today on the legality of a referendum to allow current President Álvaro Uribe to run for a third consecutive [...]

  10. Alvaro Hurtado Says:

    To Jaime Bustos

    I don’t know what will happen, but I’m hoping that the only instance of disinformation we will have to deal with regarding this particular decision turns out to be your prediction above.

    Even then, I don’t think it’s fair to start casting suspicion on any of the magistrates preemptively when you’re only going off your gut feeling at the moment.

  11. Jaime Bustos Says:

    I am glad I still don’t know how things work … ;)

  12. Tambopaxi Says:

    Silla Vacia says re-election option rejected 7-2 por la Corte Constitucional, ok so on to new President for Colombia, which is great for the country!

  13. Stuart Says:

    Alvaro- I don’t understand your argument. Because you supposedly have an example of someone who has done worse things, this means Uribe ceases to be despicable? Debating Chavez is an entirely different issue and one I choose not to enter into since I’m not nearly as informed about it. But the actions of Chavez, Porfirio Lobo, Bush, Obama, Ortega, or whoever else don’t change the fact that Uribe is a para-presidente.

  14. Tambopaxi Says:

    I repeat, Uribe’s done a reasonably good job; Colombia is more secure and stable politically and economically than it was when he came in. That the Corte Constitucional can do what it just did (and that Uribe conceded) is proof positive of that.

    In this light, is Uribe despicable? No. Are the problems of the paras, drugs and the FARC despicable? Absolutely, and they need to dealt with conclusively.

    If you read this blog regularly then you’d know that I’ve asserted repeatedly here that the priority challenge of Colombia is to break the military-para-government (all branches) connections, and not just break it, but crush it. This is a many-headed hydra always has been, in my opinion, the fundamental problem that has afflicted and weakened Colombia for years and it needs to be dealt with openly and with finality. It may sound radical, but I’ve always seen the drug and FARC problems as ancillary to the military/para/government problem; drugs and the FARC. If the m/p/g issue can be resolved conclusively, the other issues can and will follow in resolution – but not before…

    Uribe’s done some decent stuff (e.g., demobilization of the AUC, damaging the FARC, keeping coke from growing and keeping the country stable as a whole), but he never addressed the core issue I cite above. Still, he never really sought to clean the paras and para sympathizers out of the government and especially, out of the military; those are his failings.

    Now, though, thanks to the CC, Colombia’s got another chance at dealing with the core problem, and that’s why I’ve always/always argued against a third term for Uribe; he’s been part of the problem, but in a larger sense, down here in LA, anyone/anyone sticking around in power for more than eight years just tends to make things worse, not better.

    With candidates like Santos, one can logically argue that little, if anything will happen on this front. Still, with someone like Fajardo, maybe there’s a chance to make headway on the m/p/g problem. We can all hope, anyway, for Colombia. I’ve always maintained that if Colombia could ever whip its internal problems, it could become the economic and political powerhouse of SA (I include Argentina and Brazil in that, btw) because I think the Colombians are just that good.

    In that light, I want to congratulate Colombia once again for the CC’s decision and wish it the best of luck…

  15. Stuart Says:

    Tambo- thanks for fleshing out your ideas. I think internet forums too often devolve into the un-substantiated, soundbyte scream-sessions that typify mainstream television news, so I’m glad you take the time to explain what you mean.

    I think it comes down to the benefit of the doubt. You give it to Uribe more than I’m prepared to. The AUC is demobilized, but Uribe’s administration was all too happy to extradite paramilitary leaders, ensuring that truth and reparations are harder to attain. He’s never ceased to equate his detractors with FARC supporters, which I see as absolutely irresponsible and malicious. He hasn’t taken a hard line of the Soacha scandal, the DAS scandals are absolutely terrifying when you stop to think about them, denying that Colombia is a dangerous place to be pro-labor is at best ignorant and at worst malicious, he’s repeatedly treated Ecuador like the US treats Iraq (bomb first and claim hazy ‘terrorist’ links later), millions of people have been displaced during his term and given little attention and zero reparations, their land has openly been appropriated by cattle ranchers and African palm growers with no consequences, and the list goes on.

    In my opinion the man should be tried and convicted for human rights abuses, and that’s the gist of it. But again, it’s a question of whether or not you choose to be ‘realist’ (ie, assume a certain amount of violence and impunity is just part and parcel of politics) and whether you extend the benefit of the doubt.

  16. Jaime Bustos Says:

    I could not have said it better stu ..

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