By Beatrice E. Rangel
Most analysts regard Colombia as one of the Latin American countries attaching value to the rule of law. Together with Costa Rica and Uruguay , Colombia throughout its history has attempted to build an institutional framework that succeeds in taming barbarousness.
And in spite of the stumbling block from the Counter Reform culture prevailing in Latin America, Colombia has aimed at developing a platform of civility to support development. And while complete success has yet to be met, Colombians have always been proud of their ability to envision deviations, correct course and take the civility road again with enthusiasm and optimism.
Gabo used to say about Colombia’s enchantment with civility that it was the means to purge over half a century of political violence. So far, the country has thrived in a region full of complex dilemmas and astounding bottlenecks anchored in its complex geography.
South of the Rio Grande, culture, religion and greed have all intertwined to create a tapestry that over the years brings the region closer to Dante’s inferno than to Milton’s Paradise Regained. The land has indeed been betrayed by so many that its road to development often seems permanently blocked.
Perhaps Dante would have placed many Colombian leaders inside Satan’s mouth. To him any move to cut short a country’s destiny was an act of treason and traitors were Lucifer’s puppets.
September the 18th will be a day to remember in the annals of Latin American tragedy.
That date the Supreme Court of Colombia issued an opinion, indicating that drug trafficking charges could be pardoned in cases in which those activities were used to fund insurgent activities for political ends.
In other words, once any criminal organization and its leaders decide to use the drug trafficking proceeds to express their political opinion by whatever means, they are eligible for pardon.
This we assume is the price the country has to pay for the FARC and ELN to enter into peace agreements.
Given that these irregular armies are supported by the drug proceeds, the Supreme Court opinion creates a special political class that is above the law of the land and has license to commit crimes in the name of freedom of expression.
It is thus easy to foresee a scenario whereby the FARC and ELN leaders enter the Nariño Palace after having lawfully won an election financed by drug trafficking proceeds. Once in power, the jewel of the geopolitical crown (Colombia is the most important South American nation with both Atlantic and Pacific shores) will become the production platform for an illegal substance that has the power of corrupting institutions, promoting crime and subverting power.
In this scenario, Gran Colombia would reemerge this time with a higher probability of union than its dead broke antecessor established by Simon Bolivar.
Venezuela, already tangoing with disaster as it is given up by a Cuba turning toward its new US trading partner, could embrace an alliance with Colombia that could finally bring together two complementary economies.
Political parties as we know them would probably cease to exist as drug producing cooperatives take over the political space in both countries. Foreign policy will become dominated by the drug supply chain. Gangs will dictate politics from Mexico to Colombia.
Economies from Guatemala to Venezuela would jump start responding to the magic inflow of drug dollars.
Cash would be king, as no bank complying with international financial conventions could accept deposits from the surging entrepreneurs. Perhaps bitcoins would see the light as official currency for the territories.
Housewives would set up hydroponic coca cultivations in their balconies and terraces hoping to get some extra cash. Pablo Escobar’s dream come true!!!
Such scenario is closer to turn into a reality than we think, given that Colombia’s Supreme Court decision is the first step into founding Gangland.
With impunity reigning and drug traffic margins at current levels, the FARC and ELN can take over Colombia with greater ease than that of Dom Pedro when he made Brazil independent by virtue of stating “Eu Ficu”.
As the world is painfully aware, Latin America’s culture, dominated by counter reform idiosyncrasy and enveloped in a Phillip II institutional framework, fosters the emergence and development of rent seekers as opposed to value builders. And there is no larger rent margin in this world than that of drugs!!! Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.
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