The Economist | 1/4/2010 12:00:00 AM
Time to enter history
Jan 4--Álvaro Uribe should stand aside and let would-be successors campaign to lead Colombia.
That is an indulgence Colombia cannot afford. Mr Uribe has made his country a better and safer place. Through tireless and determined leadership and by expanding the security forces, backed by American aid, he has reduced the FARC guerrillas from a mortal threat to the democratic state to a scattered, if still dangerous, band. He persuaded tens of thousands of right-wing paramilitaries to disband, albeit under a flawed agreement. Greater security has helped to bring a revival of economic growth and national self-confidence. That is why polls suggest that if Mr Uribe ran, he would win.
Mr Uribe has indeed accomplished much. But for Colombia to progress it needs strong institutions rather than an eternal strongman. The ultimate success of Mr Uribe’s tough security policies depends on them being continued by others—and on being adjusted. FARC’s kidnap and murder of a provincial governor in late December was a grisly throwback to the bad old days of a decade ago. There are also new threats from criminal gangs made up of recycled paramilitary types.
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