As a born and raised Colombian citizen and a Georgetown alum, it is with great sadness that I read about the continuous disparagement being suffered by former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez on campus. The belittling campaigns against Uribe at Georgetown, led by a handful of romantic and uninformed students in unison with some ungrateful Colombian activists, are short of the real feelings of admiration and respect that the majority of Colombian citizens feel for Uribe.
Alvaro Uribe has been the best president in Colombia’s 200-year-old (mostly) democratic history. A president that enjoys 70 to 80 percent popularity rates and practically tripled the gross domestic product during his eight years of government must have done many things correctly. Any social or economic measurement of Uribe’s tenure will indicate that he brought life – and most importantly, hope – back to Colombia.
President Uribe’s government, however, was not perfect. In this sense, it is important for activists to flag the mistakes made by his government to ensure these are corrected by subsequent administrations. What is not reasonable is the narrow vision with which Uribe’s detractors look at his flaws.
As a Colombian citizen that has lived through the evolution of Colombia in the past 27 years, I wish to publicly thank Uribe for his virtues, resilience and inspiration. Uribe’s diligence and keenness, coupled with his patriotism and approachable nature, made him a hero for the majority of the Colombian population. Heroes, as history has taught us, bring hope; hope brings dreams; and dreams, when nurtured in the proper context (such as the one Uribe has helped create in Colombia), bring prosperity.
“A un árbol sin frutas no le tiran piedra” (a tree without fruits is never hit by stones), says a popular Colombian adage of the type that Uribe frequently quotes in his speeches. Today, Uribe is suffering the “stoning” of some ungrateful few that simply wish to tear down the bountiful fruits he has given Colombia. Unfortunately for me, it’s happening at Georgetown, the place that gave me many of the fruits I enjoy today.