One of the greatest temptations for presidents who come to govern a nation in severe crisis, is to go above everything else, seeking to return to their people the peace and well-being they deserve.
Whether right or left, the heads of state justify going above the law, violating rights, arguing that their popularity and goodwill forgives everything. The end justifies the means.
The most recent case is that of the former President of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, who has just been issued an arrest warrant by the Supreme Court of Justice of his country for alleged fraud and bribery of witnesses in a process in which he is accused of links to ultra-right paramilitary squads.
The case deserves to be analyzed because it is the first time in the history of Colombia that a former president is called to account by the justice and because Uribe is the political godfather of the current president, Ivan Duque.
We are talking about a right-wing Uribe, a very popular and respected politician not only in his country, but throughout the world, who reached the presidency with 54 percent of the votes and left power with 75 percent approval.
From his current position as Senator and leader of Congress, Uribe is today the greatest political influence for anyone who aspires to the presidency in 2022.
Its popularity is not free. It was between 2002 and 2010 the president who declared war on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC, under the slogan “firm hand and big heart.” He survived the death of his father in an attempted kidnapping and numerous attacks by the Colombian guerrillas.
His Democratic Security program gave surprising results. Of more than two thousand kidnappings that were committed per year, it reduced them to 200. And it lowered the homicides from 29 thousand to 16 thousand.
Economically, it maintained a growth of 4.47 percent, even in the 2008 crisis. Inflation reduced it from 7 to 2 percent, the unemployment it received at 16 percent left it at 11 percent, and foreign investment raised it from two billion dollars annually to seven thousand.
But for the sake of ending the FARC and restoring lost stability to Colombia, during his government, alleged human rights violations were committed with the promotion of paramilitary groups that proliferated in the war against terrorism. Today, the former president has 28 judicial processes open.
Something similar to what happened to the former president of Peru, the socialist Alberto Fujimori, is happening to Uribe, the most popular caudillo of the Latin American right.
With enormous popular support, Fujimori restored Peru to tranquility by annihilating the guerrilla forces of the Shining Path, thus restoring peace and stability to Peruvians for so many lost years.
Fujimori inherited an economic platform that allowed the Inca nation to excel towards growth of 8 percent per year. But today he is serving a prison sentence accused of violating human rights in the war against terrorism.
What we are trying to show with the Uribe case and Fujimori’s antecedent, is that the best will of a politician to restore tranquility to his country ends up running into accountability and respect for institutions in the end.
President López Obrador faces the challenge of the drug cartels, which are his FARC and his Shining Path.
And as happened in the last 20 years in Colombia and Peru, we Mexicans demand a return to peace and the recovery of the welfare state lost in the last corrupt administration of the PRIAN.
But what at the time was applauded as presidents by Uribe and Fujimori, ended up being turned against them under accusations that they had violated the law. One has already been serving a prison sentence for years. The other is about to step on it.
Popularity and caudillismo were of little use. Colombia and Peru, one from the right and the other from the left, are currently experiencing a political polarization that does nothing good for their future.
Hopefully President López Obrador learns two essential political lessons from the example of those leaders.
One, that power is not eternal and two, that what is built from simple popularity and good will are not enough to appear-sooner or later- before the judgment of History.