Spanish – In Cali, a policeman walks around surrounded by a mob of “demonstrators,” beating him, insulting him, shouting that he has been “arrested.” In the city center of Bogota, in Bolivar Square, a military woman is carried by her colleagues; they take her to a safe place, her face is bleeding, the “demonstrators” attacked her. In an unspecified location in this chaos-ridden country, a policeman is thrown to the ground and assaulted by a criminal who hits him for several minutes. The policeman, although he has a gun, does not defend himself.
In Facatativa, Cundinamarca, one of the many places in the country where there were robberies, a family with several children cries out in desperation because criminals are about to enter their home. In Cali, the residents of one neighborhood confront with sticks and stones the thieves who – taking advantage of the confusion caused by the strike – entered to rob their residential complex.
These are just some of the images left by the 21N, the “strike” called by the Colombian left, and by those who say they are not from the left, but demand all the leftist policies. Colombia, this 21st November, seemed to be the setting for the film ‘The Purge.’
Despite the deaths, robberies, attacks on police officers, destruction of Transmilenio transport stations, and all the chaos in the country, which neither the national government nor the mayors could control, President Ivan Duque gave a speech that, for many of us, reminded us of the day when Sebastian Piñera handed over Chile.
“Despite the acts of violence that can be attributed to vandals who do not represent the spirit of the Colombian marchers, we demonstrate that people of this country can exercise individual liberties without violating the liberties of others,” the President said.
How was that proven, Mr. President? The demonstrators did precisely violate the liberties of others. Let’s suppose – naively – that none of the lootings had anything to do with the strike and that they are “isolated events,” they blocked streets, destroyed Transmilenio stations, attacked civilians and policemen… What respect for the freedom of others do you talk about when the protestors were clearly showing their disrespect?
“The students, the workers, the artists, and the great majority of people who mobilized did so with the legitimate intention of making their voices heard, and we listened to them,” continued the President.
Many people went out to march do not want a dialogue or to be heard, they want a change of government. They want to overthrow the President. Or, if that fails, they want us to be docile and do whatever they ask us to do. They want to use this opportunity as a transition card towards socialism.
“The Colombians spoke today. We are listening to them. Social dialogue has been the pillar of this government; we must promote it in all sectors of our society,” adds Duque.
That’s not true either. On 21st November, “the Colombians” did not speak. A boisterous part of society, but not the majority, spoke. You must always be clear about who elected you. What are the demands of that majority that voted for you, and, above all, what are the principles and ideals that you represent?
Those of us who voted for you do not seek the “social conquests” of the left. We do not share the so-called reasonable requests of those who took to the streets yesterday. We don’t do it because we understand economics. Because we know that the wealthiest countries are the most liberal ones, where the state intervenes the least.
We are rational, and we know that the best social policy is the creation of employment and that it requires, as in the richest countries, a safe and employer-friendly environment. Furthermore, we do not see poverty as a disability, but as a temporary situation from which one can escape. That is why we do not want perennial subsidies for everyone; we want liberalism so that there is employment, and we can move forward.
It is obviously not a good strategy to try to look good with everyone and to negotiate with the left that pressures with violence. Not even in the short term. You can do whatever you want, President, and you will still never get their approval. As soon as they see you weak, afraid, without a clear strategy, they will either use you until you are useful to them, or they will remove you from office.
You are not having a dialogue with simple dissatisfied Colombians. Those are the ones who absent-mindedly go out to march, believing that everything is a peaceful petition for things to improve. The leaders of the 21N, those who wield power, those who are going to put forth the demands in exchange for not bringing the country to a standstill and turning it into hell – as they have already shown they can do – are not tender dreamers. It is a pure and hard left. They have money, they are organized, and they are dangerous.
In Chile, President Piñera, who also faced very similar events, reacted by saying that dialogue was necessary and that he would listen to social demands. He got the right that elected him to view him as a pariah, the left to push him to the point of accepting a new constitution – destroying the foundations of the liberal economy that have sustained Chile as the most prosperous country in the region for years. Today, the country is in chaos.
Today, Chile’s economy, according to Bloomberg, is “on the brink of the abyss.” Who wants to invest in a country where buildings are burned, shops are ransacked, and the authorities cannot control the situation? Who wants to open a business in a place where the left is going to write the constitution?
Piñera’s lack of character has not only pushed Chile into chaos, but also into risked an economic recession. Those who supposedly marched for better economic conditions have achieved just the opposite.
Colombia is not Chile. Colombia is a conservative, religious country, with many right-wing people. And yesterday, despite everything, the decent and rational part of the population stood out. We had courageous people who went out to protect the police. There were groups of Civic Resistance who organized themselves to confront the violent “marchers.” There were also citizens who, together with the police and the army, braved the looting. And they did so with sticks and stones.
We support President Duque in taking this country forward with a strong stance against the left that wants nothing more than to destroy everything. We need a firm government. Go ahead, President, we are here to support you.
Don’t think of taking a step back because as soon as they sense your weakness, you will be another Piñera who, without realizing it, will have handed over the country to the left.