After almost ten years of President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010) and his advisor José Obdulio Gaviria declaring that there was "no armed conflict" in Colombia, a bill (the War Victims' Bill) is being considered by the Colombian Congress that would recognize that there is a conflict after all.
This is to the chagrin of Uribe and his right wing associates. Uribe has consistently claimed that what the state was confronting was a bunch of criminal and terrorist groups. This dogma—meant to be a strategy—was consistent with the international political climate created after the September 11, 2001 attack against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Now, after about $100 billion wasted in an unwinnable war—in less than ten years—alongside the loss of thousands of lives and about a million more poor peasants displaced, the “imaginary” war of Uribe-Obdulio rages on with no end in sight.
This may have led some individuals within the ruling circle to become more sensible and rational—including Uribe’s successor, Juan Manuel Santos—and to recognize the obvious: the futility of the Uribe-Obdulio “no conflict” slogan. This is a good step, but far from enough to come to grips with Colombia’s urgent need to find a path for a negotiated settlement rather than continuing the devastating route of a civil war of losers.