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The national country | The new day

Now it’s up, again, to the national country: 65 years ago, Colombians lived through events whose outcome turned them into a hemispheric example: On May 1, 1957, union protests took place. Two days later the university students declared themselves unemployed. On the 5th the most important newspapers in the country stopped circulating and then the political parties, the businessmen, the Church expressed themselves. On May 10 the dictator was forced to leave the government. The Military Junta that assumed it facilitated the recovery of the rule of law.

Those May days were the happy precedent of the plebiscite held on December 1 of the same year. Both of them highlighted not only the importance but the meaning of the mobilizations of the national country that, in the streets or at the polls, is capable of solving its problems and overcoming the threats and dangers of authoritarianism, intolerance, uncertainty.

Through these two events, Colombia planted a seed of social coexistence that bore fruit. Unfortunately, two or three decades later, the ideologisms and intolerances nested in the feverish minds of the cold war cut it short.

Colombia had been under a dictatorship for nearly ten years that had been inaugurated with the closure of the National Congress, ordered by the government, in November 1949. Shortly after, there were elections with a single presidential candidate, in an area that, for the same reason, did not could be called democratic. The crisis of the dictatorship had begun a year earlier, when his head announced the decision to prolong his mandate, amid the complacency of the members of the Constituent Assembly.

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The days of May 1957 showed a country united against the dictatorship and the results of the plebiscite in December showed a country united by coexistence. The thesis that the National Front was an exclusive pact is politically, legally and historically inaccurate. Those who did not take advantage of the agreements were absolutely marginal sectors. The support for the plebiscite was higher than 4 million votes, against a negative vote that barely reached 200 thousand. The guerrilla groups – including ‘Tirofijo’ himself – accepted the peace process.

Today’s country should look back to those paradigmatic days of 1957. The Colombians of that time found the formula to eliminate political violence and set an example to the continent and the world. I do not claim that the process was easy. But his management was so lucid that he was able to connect the contradictions of reality with the law, diverse interests with common decisions, Gordian knots with political will. The historian Robert Karl collected all that process of the mid-20th century in his book ‘The Forgotten Peace’. There you read how the Colombians of that time combined political citizenship and social pedagogy to build coexistence, and how they achieved it.

Our country had statesmen at that time, of which today it lacks. But the national country mobilized, above hatred, and managed to make politics the substitute for war. The current predicament is similar. Unfortunately, forgetting peace brought us so many problems that today another political armistice is needed. It must be imposed at the polls, on May 29, by the national country, because from the leadership they want to prevent it.

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