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| 5/20/2011 11:00:00 AM

The LSE is wrong to give Uribe a platform

May 20--The LSE and London Business School risk legitimising state terror by inviting Colombia's former president to visit.

One might have thought that the London School of Economics at least would have learned the wisdom of caution after getting its fingers burnt for other dubious guests. And yet the LSE and the London Business School are both hosting the visit of Colombia's notorious rightwing former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez on Monday.

Uribe was George Bush's favourite Latin American leader, seen as the model of a "war on terror" style stabilisation in the region, and he arrives in London days after the debate in Colombia's Congress over a proposed victim's law. Uribe's former defence minister Juan Manuel Santos is now president and he promised reparations for all victims of political violence, significantly including victims of state forces, as well as leftwing guerrillas and the rightwing paramilitary groups generally seen as state proxies. In his heated interventions, Uribe has objected to defining the confrontations as an "internal armed conflict", insisting on his preferred Bush-era formulation of a "war on terror". Uribe refuses to identify the guerrilla movements as anything other than "terrorists". Santos has been at pains to find common ground with his former boss – neither would grant "belligerent status" to the guerrillas – but the spat highlights how the government is trying to move on from Uribe's own unrepentantly belligerent presence.

With the smugness of a petty tyrant, Uribe claims that the successes of his eight years in government were based on the three pillars of security, social cohesion and investor trust. Is it the case? Let us examine Uribe's record by his own criteria.
 
Read more here.

Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.

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