Why does Colombia's president want another term?

Opinions about events beyond our borders.
Dec. 29 2004 5:05 PM

Four More Years

Should Colombian President Álvaro Uribe be allowed to run for a second term?

(Continued from Page 1)

The prospect of another election must seem tempting to Uribe, given the dearth of serious challengers. Come Election Day, the biggest threat will likely come from "no one." Jaime Castro, a constitutional lawyer and former mayor of Bogotá, is trying to unite opposition to a second Uribe term around a blank vote. If more than 50 percent of votes cast are blank, a new round of voting is called for, with the original candidates barred from standing again.

On one front, though, Uribe is vulnerable. The economy is slowing, growing less than expected and well below the rate of Colombia's neighbors. Colombia has Latin America's third-largest population, but the fifth-largest economy. Unemployment remains stubbornly in the double digits, and over 60 percent of the population live on or below the poverty line. Uribe, focused on destroying Colombia's violence, says that once the civil war and cocaine industry are quelled, investment will come streaming in. For all the improvements in security, Colombians have yet to see much change in their pockets.

Advertisement

Colombia's debate over a second term reflects a larger struggle between a boundless optimism that says the age of poor rulers is over and that the nation can look forward to giving its leaders the time needed to make changes, and a world-weary pessimism that says the good is ephemeral but the bad lingers on. When Colombians go to the polls in 18 months, it seems likely that optimism will win out, saving pessimism's return for a later date.

Toby Muse is a freelance journalist based in Bogotá, Colombia. He can be contacted at tobymuse@hotmail.com.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.