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Wed Jun 4, 2014, 02:52 AM

Colombian elections offer a chance for peace – or endless war

Colombian elections offer a chance for peace – or endless war

Presidential hopeful Oscar Iván Zuluaga is promising a hard line on Colombia's Farc rebels – threatening to undo years of work towards peace

Posted by
Jonathan Glennie

Wednesday 4 June 2014 02.00 EDT

[font size=1]
Supporters of Oscar Iván Zuluaga celebrate incoming results at Zuluaga's campaign HQ
in Bogota, Colombia. (Photograph: AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)[/font]

After four years of the government moving painstakingly from the language of war, which characterised the previous administration, a hard-right wing presidential candidate could end the fragile dream of peace and modernity in Colombia for another generation.

Oscar Iván Zuluaga, an ex-finance minister virtually unknown in Colombia a few months ago, won a notable victory in the first round of the presidential election last week, with his flagship promise to suspend peace talks with the decades-old guerrilla insurgency.

Ex-president Alvaro Uribe, who brought security to large parts of Colombia at the expense of human rights and at the cost of many innocent lives, and who is still Colombia's most popular politician, is masterminding his campaign.

Zuluaga's rival in the second round is Colombia's incumbent president Juan Manuel Santos, who was once Uribe's chosen one, and his ex-defence minister, but is now the object of furious attacks for having begun negotiations in Cuba with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, (Farc) the leftist guerilla group.


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