Colombia: Uribe accuses opponents of “masked communism”

Washington’s closest South American ally plays the wimp-baiting and commie menace cards in his bid to become president for life. Sadly, the polls indicate it is working. From Reuters, May 6:

BOGOTA – Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, expected to win re-election later this month, turned up the heat of the campaign on Friday by suggesting his opponents would hand the country over to leftists rebels.

His comments, made in a speech to military officials, came the same day an opinion poll predicted Uribe would win 56 percent of the May 28 vote, enough for a first-round victory against Horacio Serpa of the center-left Liberal Party and leftist candidate Carlos Gaviria.

Uribe is popular for cutting crime as part of his U.S.-backed military crackdown on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which is fighting a four-decade-old insurrection funded by the country’s huge cocaine trade.

“Colombia now has to choose if we are going to keep improving our country through democratic security as a way toward peace,” Uribe said, “or are we going to take a step back with masked communism, which would hand the country over to the FARC.”

Gaviria, who has criticized the FARC and its tactics, has called for more social investment as a way of quelling the class resentment that helps fuel Colombia’s conflict, in which thousands are killed every year.

He called Uribe’s comments a brand of “McCarthyism,” referring to the late U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy who was accused of going on a witch hunt against leftists in the 1950s.

Both Gaviria and Serpa trail badly in the polls.

See our last post on Colombia.