I would like nothing more

By Santiago Londono Uribe

In the second round, Colombia will have to decide between two populist projects in which the old patronage forms are mixed with the promise of change. Two projects in which irresponsible and gimmicky speeches (Petro proposes to unblock Hidroituango or stop the Bogotá Metro, while Rodolfo announces states of emergency and disregard of the Constitution) go hand in hand with aggressive and persecutory postures with the contenders. Two projects, in short, in which exacerbated personalism feeds on a deep and dangerous institutional crisis.

I will not judge those who, practicing politicians or ordinary citizens, take sides for one or another project. Some firmly believe that they are the way out of the problems of our society; others are resigned to the “least bad” option and some more base their personal and partisan purposes on one of the two options. In the Historical Pact there are members of the left who see for the first time, and after much blood and pain, the possibility of an alternative government. I understand your illusion. In Rodolfo’s project, voters tired of traditional politics are mixed with some firmly rooted in the idea of ​​containing “21st century socialism” (or “neocommunism” or “Castrochavism”) by whatever means necessary. Regional clans move between both sides.

In my case, and just as I did in my first electoral exercise (Samper-Pastrana in 1994), I will vote blank. I will do it aware that, although it is the legitimate exercise of a democratic right, it will be a defeated vote. Defeated because, in my opinion, the country has already lost by promoting these two projects to the second round. I will do it not because I feel superior to those who vote for any of the other options, but because I am convinced that it is the only vote consistent with my idea of ​​democracy and with the project that I dream of for this country. It is the vow that allows me to lie down, look at the ceiling, breathe and sleep at night. It is the vote that I can explain and support to the people I love.

I do not expect anything different from the brave bars than what I saw these last four years after voting blank in 2018: from the winners, a suspicious silence, and from the losers, a sustained aggressiveness. They will hold us responsible for all the ills that the country suffers during the four-year term and, displaying the “creativity” of the fanatic, they will remind us of a trip to see whales (which I have never done). I know what is coming and I accept it.

What I do sincerely hope is that the winning project proves me wrong. That the next president of Colombia comes to strengthen the institutions and the system of checks and balances. May he develop the 1991 Constitution with decision and discipline. May he bring institutions, opportunities and respect for the rights to the abandoned territories of the nation. That he bet without sprains on the implementation of the Peace Agreement. That liquidate by starvation the political clans that have bled our regions. Strengthen public education and take climate change and gender issues seriously. That he does not lay hands on pension savings. I would like nothing more than to be wrong.

The blank vote is something like a state of dignified resignation or, if you prefer, a cry at the exit of the ballot box. Nobody votes happy white. I hope I’m wrong, but I think we have four more years of setbacks ahead of us.