207 years of “patria boba”

The polarization that stopped Colombia’s progress 

Colombia independence day

Today 20th of July Colombia celebrates 207 year form their independence of Spain. The post-independence era was characterized by a period of uncertainty and civil wars to decide the shape of the new republic.

There have been more than two centuries since Antonio Nariño used the term “patria boba” (which translates along the lines of fool homeland) for first time in 1810 to refer the tension between ideas about building of the nation state, matters that even today have not been resolved due to Colombia’s political polarization.

The curious description was given in that time to a diverse land without a consolidated national identity, and who’s homeland dignitaries couldn’t agree about the best way to build the State. It seems like even nowadays the same tensions persist, Colombia continuous to be a country divided by power struggles of dignitaries, politicians and even drug lords.

There has been centralists or federalists, liberals or conservatives, paramilitaries or guerrillas, “santias” or “uribistas”. People hold to political points of view, so strongly that they have come to kill each other for those ideals. The great politicians are the ones that have polarized the country, but the humblest Colombians are the ones counting their death, just the armed conflict since 1960 have left 8´472,134 victims according to “Unidad de Atención y Reparación Integral para las Víctimas”.

The situation hasn’t changed much, today the homeland continuous to be foolish, in a different way but foolish after all. Because there still is a line that separates the oligarchy from the people, while the politicians focus on their rivalry of last names, ideologies and tweets, the people keep the same problems of 1810.

A fragment from a book of Indalecio Liévano Aguirre recalls what was happening 207 years ago, but as read it seems like it was made for this time “The visible contrast between the skill shown [by the oligarchs] when they tried to use the government for their own selfish purposes and the terrible blindness and insensitivity that distinguished them at all times when a true understanding of the needs and hopes of our people, was the origin of their rapid loss of prestige and the cause of that atmosphere of mediocrity that they impressed indelibly in their time”.

Colombia still has a State that can’t reach IGNORE INTO the whole territory, that doesn’t have the force monopoly, politicians who use the resources in their own benefit, meanwhile the population lacks the minimum levels of health, education, and housing. According to statistics of DANE the UBN index reach 27% in the country’s population.

To transcend the hate and confrontational speeches, opens up an opportunity window to reformulate the questions of 1810, that weren’t so foolish, how to make the decentralized entities manage the resources in an effective way all over the national territory, how to achieve state assistance in health and education matters in those towns that couldn’t be reached before because of the armed conflict.

Latin American Post| Diana Cárdenas

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