Colombia’s political soap


Santos & Zuluaga

Zuluaga & Santos

The Colombian presidential election is a funny thing

You wonder how the five presidential candidates are going to get their votes here when there’re no debates. No rallies. No challengers. No interviews. No constructive discussions of policies. No concrete plans of how their political commitment can be achieved (well, with the exception of Enrique Peñalosa). Just TV ads and posters.. What? Are we really having a presidential election in 3 days?!

It’s been unusually quiet except for series of backstabbing, spats and scandals. Last Saturday, just a week before the election, the weekly magazine Semana (as ‘intellectual and neutral’ as Colombia gets) aptly released a painfully cliché phone camera filmed video of Óscar Iván Zuluaga, the opposition candidate, who conveniently sits in front of multiple computer screens meeting a hacker who taps into the peace process intelligence.

While incumbent Juan Manuel Santos and  Zuluaga pick on each other like two harlequins in a Renaissance farce, the other candidates display curious campaign tactics and strategies: Enrique Peñalosa advocates his support for legalising marijuana; ultra right Marta Lucía Ramírez claims that she’d support her daughter if she decided to be gay one day.

The election landscape is filled with politicians who live up to the notorious status of the profession – power grabbing, bickering and full of hot air. It’s been incredibly entertaining. They are doing exactly what shouldn’t be done: getting personal and not focusing on the utmostly urgent tasks of improving their country. Which ‘leaders’ can we trust, when they have all, to a certain extent, been smeared by some sort of kickbacks and money-laundering schemes? While many in the nation actively voice their political inclinations, drumming up votes for their favourite candidates without reservation on social media, how are the rest of us supposed to choose, uncertain about candidates’ ability to lead and when the options are the bad and the ugly?

How are you going make up your mind among liars, liars and more liars?

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