Discord between President Juan Manuel Santos and his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, took a nasty tone this week when Uribe called Santos a “swine”. The latest argument was sparked by President Santos’ claims that Uribe recommended General Mauricio Santoyo for a position in the Dipol (Police Intelligence Directorship) or Antioquia’s Gaula. Last year Santoyo pled guilty to ties to paramilitary groups and faces several other charges.
But the disagreements between the two politicians do more than just trigger a slew of responses on social media.
According to former Defense Minister, Marta Lucía Ramírez, it snatches “credibility and stability” away from the current Government and shifts the administration’s focus away from national interests.
For Ramírez, the saddest part is that this involves “two people who worked together and from whom the country expects a respectful and loyal personal relationship.” For analyst Andrés Mejía, Uribe often uses language and expressions that are rarely well-received by the public which is “unexplainable behavior from a former president”. Moreover, given how quickly Uribe usually reacts to Santos’ comments, “it seems he is always paying attention to whatever Santos says so he can respond immediately” which harms his public image.
Bottom line is, analysts say, the country and its institutions end up losing because the fact that two leaders are in constant battle wears the institutions out and puts society in the middle of the confrontation. The only great loser is the Colombian State.
A solution doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight and while some experts believe a reconciliation shouldn’t be ruled out because “in politics anything is possible”, others feel things will stay the same because Uribe’s supporters are clearly unhappy with the Santos administration.