From Nigeria to Brazil, from the bacteria that corrode Europe to the swagger of Donald Trump … Among the branches that with difficulty reveal the dangers that threaten peace in Colombia, with the certainty that populism lurks and no system of liberties, strong as it is, it is free from the evils of rancor or the corrosive inquisitiveness of the worst populism, democracy is seriously threatened. This has been reported in several talks by several of the participants in the There is a Festival of Cartagena de Indias.
In each debate you went to, the danger of freedom of expression was mentioned, as he warned Chimamanda Ngoi Adichie that happened in Nigeria. Many times, the threat comes directly from the Government. Others appear silent, as when Alma Guillermoprieto He told that the drinks of the party he had organized to celebrate the predictable yes to the peace referendum in Colombia froze him: "That was very hard," commented the Mexican reporter, who lives in Bogotá.
But not enough to take her away from the country she adopted as her own some time ago: "So marked by her tragedy, so little contaminated due to her own pain, which always seemed a good place for me to reflect," he assured this Saturday in a talk with the editor Pilar Reyes, responsible for Alfaguara or Taurus. It was the first of a constant cycle that will be devoted successively to Claudio López Lamadrid, who was its editor in Penguin Random House and he died last January. Today, in fact, Colombia is one of the most solid democracies in Latin America. But not free from contagion with Venezuela destroyed in the east and Brazil intoxicated by the turbid Bolsonaro, further south.
"Where is the rule of law to fight what is presented to us? Are our constitutions too strong and secure? "Asks Philippe Sands
Without forgetting those countries of the ordinarily qualified like first world, the strength that we believed vaccinated after World War II, exemplified in the Atlantic North American bond with Europe. If in that latitude the realization of the closest a practical utopia – the European Union – has been achieved in the last decades, today it is under siege.
On one side, Donald Trump is beating up, on the other, Putin's Russia. A chorus. Synchronized Philippe Sands, writer and lawyer expert in international law, launched one of the most accurate reflections of the festival on this subject: "You in South America know what the failure of democracy means," he said at the Teatro Adolfo Mejía. "We, in the time I lived, did not know that in Europe. But now, for the first time in my life, we are confronting situations in which threatening leaderships are appearing. We have them at home – if we talk about the EU – or close to home, if I see it from the United Kingdom: in Poland, in Hungary and with a more spiritual sense, but also very close to us Brits, in the United States. There govern, let's be frank, a white supremacist. "
Before the panorama crudely drawn with a realism with hardly any possibility of being refuted, Sands asked himself: "Where is the rule of law to fight what is presented to us? Are our constitutions too strong and secure? " Morale is not very high in the Anglo-Saxon world: "At any table where we sit down to breakfast for British and Americans, the question is this: which of our two countries is more fucked up? Is it possible to strengthen our democracies when, in a stupid referendum, people have chosen to leave the EU? To begin with, that leads us to consider seriously if a second vote is appropriate once people have spoken. How do you turn a plebiscite where the citizen has already pronounced? We will have to obtain lessons from all this and ensure that if they do not destroy us in the end, they will strengthen us ".
It was not the majority of Americans who chose Trump. Between 40% of voters, only half did. "
The novelist Zadie Smith, who has also participated in the Hay Festival, explains his doubts about the democratic germ itself of that questionable step: "He was encouraged by a small group of privileged people who were educated in the same schools and want to ruin what is put in front of them. Keep your privileges. It is given for economic reasons for the survival of inequality. "
Marc Thompson, British also and one of those responsible for The New York Times, he was just in the Davos forum and he could not choose a better place to live a contrast: Cartagena de Indias. "The people who meet there – for the Swiss locality – are elites without much knowledge of ordinary people. If you want to find the meaning of the word self-deception, you must pass. The world changes and they do not want to be responsible for what happens. Of course, they see Trump as the incarnation of a strange divine will and not as a predictable response to a certain sense of anger and resentment that inequality generates. "
The writer Sarah Churchwell He wanted to point out the appearance of the Trump phenomenon on the scene. "In his election a clear will to break the law could be verified. With what his legitimacy as president is a very alive matter today in the USA. I do not say this because I do not like it, but the numbers show it, too. It was not the majority of Americans who chose him. 30% of potential voters can not do it for different administrative permission issues, another similar amount abstained. They were left to choose 40% of voters. Only half chose it. " Are these the desirable percentages to procure options that the most established democracies wish to sink?