Colombian Race Rhetoric Could End up Aiding Hugo Chavez
Consider what's happening in
A 'URIBE' CONTEST?
In that context,
Right now, Uribe's party candidate, former defense minister
Santos was the hard-line defense minister who led the rescue of former Sen.
He also led that year's army attack on a FARC rebel camp in neighboring
When I asked Santos in an interview in
"Our diplomacy has been very passive. We need to have a more pro-active diplomacy, better inserting the country in the international scene, where we believe to have many attributes to become a player," he said.
'OIL AND WATER'
Asked about Chávez, he said that "Mr. Chávez and I are like oil and water. But if there is respect, and respect for our differences, we can have good relations. And I think that's our duty, because when leaders fight, it's the people who suffer."
Isn't there a danger that in the heat of
"I would hope not," Santos said. "I hope our democracy will be mature enough to avoid using foreign policy as a domestic political campaign tool. That would be irresponsible. As far as I'm concerned, rest assured that despite the fact that they say that I'm the anti-Chávez ogre, there won't be any use of that for political campaigning."
My opinion: Santos may be sincere in saying that he won't use anti-Chávez rhetoric for political gain at home. But several of his rivals will need to win part of the Uribe vote and may do so, leading him not to play that game.
On the other side, Chávez is rapidly losing support in
CHAVEZ TALKS OF 'PLOTS'
Not surprisingly, Chávez in recent weeks has stepped up his rhetoric about alleged plots to kill him or oust him by
Even if Santos and the other Colombian candidates avoid saying anything that could be used by Chávez as an excuse to advance his totalitarian project, Chávez will probably say something to provoke a strong reaction from
Either way, if Colombian candidates don't watch their words, they may inadvertently help Chávez do away with the last vestiges of democracy in
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