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Colombia's Election Results Lack Promise of Change
Posted on: Tuesday, June 22, 2010
On Sunday, Juan Manuel Santos was elected to succeed Álvaro Uribe as president of Colombia with 69% of the vote in a runoff election. Only 45% of the population participated in the election, as many who supported the left-wing candidate in the first round abstained from voting during the run-off elections.
Santos, the former Colombian Defense Minister and widely seen as the heir to Uribe’s right wing administration, has vowed to continue the current government's "strong" security policies.
But for the many Colombian human rights defenders and activists who have witnessed the murders of friends and colleagues and who have received repeated death threats themselves in the last few years, a continuation of the current policies does not mean better or stronger security. Instead, the majority of the population remains trapped in the middle of a 40-year conflict between the government-backed military and paramilitaries and the armed guerrilla groups, and they continue to fear for their lives.
In Santos’ speech, he called for national unity, yet he made no mention of an end to the conflict or the prospect of peace.
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