Santos Vows to Maintain Priorities Despite Violence

By Dialogo
May 24, 2012

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos guaranteed on May 22 that he will maintain his administration’s priorities, especially in security, the search for peace, and poverty reduction, despite the pressure exerted by violence from the extreme left and right.

“We’re going to remain on course. There are extremes, on the left and on the right, that want us to veer off course. There are terrorists who want to impose their agenda on us,” Santos said at Nariño House, the presidential residence.

“Our destination is a more secure Colombia and a Colombia at peace: at peace through reason or through force. A fairer Colombia, with fewer injustices, with less poverty, and with an economy that can generate increasing numbers of jobs, that is competitive,” asserted the president.

Santos spoke the day after an attack by the FARC, a communist guerrilla group, left 12 Military personnel dead in the area of La Guajira (in northern Colombia), very near the border with Venezuela.

That attack followed a bombing in Bogotá on May 15, targeting former interior minister Fernando Londoño, in which his driver and one of his bodyguards died and around fifty people were injured.

The authorities have not confirmed who was responsible for that attack, which according to different reports, might have come from the FARC or from unidentified sectors of the extreme right.

On May 10, seven police officers died in another FARC ambush in the area of Catatumbo (Norte de Santander), also near the border with Venezuela.

Nevertheless, the president said that these episodes are part of the internal conflict that Colombia has suffered for almost half a century, and he preferred to highlight his administration’s efforts in the social arena.

“We continue to make progress on security. We continue to make positive progress, despite suffering setbacks. We’re in a war. In every war, there are setbacks, but the overall balance is very positive,” he stressed.

“We continue to make progress on generating jobs, (with) 1,723,000 jobs created in these first 20 months of my administration. Compared to the rest of the world, that’s a very impressive figure,” the president emphasized.