Fernando LondoÃ±o was in rare form in his latest
target="_blank">column, which appeared in Mondayâ€™s edition of El Tiempo.
He informs us that the Uribe governmentâ€™s peace talks with paramilitaries would
be going just swimmingly if it werenâ€™t for the sabotage of those all-powerful
human-rights activists, UN representatives, former guerrillas and other assorted
While our pueblo in arms gives its lives in jungles and valleys for
Colombiaâ€™s Liberty, and the vast majority of our judges and prosecutors do
their duty with an abnegation and selflessness that we will never forget,
the juridical dogs work indefatigably to render sterile the efforts of their
blood and sweat. Leading this entourage marches Mr. [Michael] FrÃ¼hling [the
head of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rightsâ€™ BogotÃ¡ Field Office], demanding
the memory, reparations and justice that the UN never mentioned when he and
[UN Special Representative James] LeMoyne were embracing the FARCâ€™s murderers
in the CaguÃ¡n [during the failed 1998-2002 peace process]. They are followed
by all the Associations and Collectives of jurists, with their purses filled
with foreign gold, proposing whatever perverse obstacles that might slow the
progress of our tragedyâ€™s final process, while also inventing arguments that
they never mentioned when talks were occurring with the band of Marxist bandits.
At their side, some pardoned members of the old M-19 [dissolved guerrilla
group], who want to occupy the professorâ€™s chair of moral values, using the
part of their conscience not compromised by their massacres, kidnappings,
vile murders and acts of terror. In the group are Communist legislators, who
venerate the ChÃ¡vez dictatorship and detest the democracy in which we permit
them such freedoms.
LondoÃ±o seems to have left off his list the paramilitariesâ€™ many victims and
their relatives, who no doubt are doing the fatherland a disservice with their
constant bellyaching about accountability, reparations, the return of their
stolen property, and their desire to see the AUC truly disappear.
I wouldnâ€™t bother to translate and post this if it were just the ravings of
another paleo-right, anti-modern, feudal-landowning, red-baiting dinosaur still
fighting the cold war. (Youâ€™re on your own, for example, if you want to wade
through Plinio Apuleyo Mendozaâ€™s href="http://www.miami.com/mld/elnuevo/news/magazine/10449726.htm"
target="_blank">screed in Sundayâ€™s El Nuevo Herald.)
But Fernando LondoÃ±o is no ordinary extremist crackpot. Until about a year
ago, he was perhaps the most influential figure in Ãlvaro Uribeâ€™s government.
In 2002, when the newly elected president was picking his cabinet, he created
a hugely powerful post by fusing the ministries of interior and justice â€“ and
then surprised most by picking LondoÃ±o to fill it. The outspoken minister lasted
only fifteen months, consumed by href="http://www.portafolio.com.co/porta_dono_online/10anios/ARTICULO-WEB-NOTA_INTERIOR_PORTA-1246171.html"
target="_blank">scandals about shady investment deals and embarrassing misstatements
(such as suggesting that Uribe, if denied a chance to run for re-election, would
resign, call new elections, and run again).
No space will be wasted here responding to the â€œargumentsâ€ in LondoÃ±oâ€™s column;
CIP has written much elsewhere about the href="041207cip.htm">paramilitary dialogues, the href="http://www.ciponline.org/colombia/blog/archives/000005.htm">M-19 process,
and the important role of NGOs.
If Fernando LondoÃ±o ever reads this, though (say, if he Googles himself), Iâ€™d
like to say to him: Mr. LondoÃ±o, youâ€™re doing your former boss a grave disservice
with this overheated, irresponsible prose.
And to President Uribe, who hired LondoÃ±o in the first place: You will be known
by the company you keep.