18 July 2022, El Espectador

It is 6:12 p.m. on Saturday 16 July; I am walking along and I get the first message announcing news as petty as it is absurd: Humberto de la Calle – the only statesman we have left, the man who led a model Peace Accord in the world, achieved the disarmament of more than 13,000 guerrillas and gave rise to bodies such as the Special Justice for Peace and the Truth Commission – has been expelled from the Oxygen Green Party. We had a feeling that something like this might happen, but not so fast and so ugly. In the end. It is yet another chapter in the itinerary of Ingrid Betancourt, the woman who came from Paris to shatter trust, politics and loyalty.

The Verde Oxígeno bench was made up of two people: Humberto de la Calle for the Senate and Daniel Carvalho in the Chamber of Deputies for Antioquia. Both had expressed publicly and with their cards on the table – as they have always done – that they were, are and will be independent. This means that they will not join an applause committee with a closed eye, nor will they have the slogan of dynamiting all the projects put forward by the governing party. But Doña Íngrid refused; she insists on being the opposition to the elected government and it is her right – and her right – to make a bar for Senator Cabal. But what neither Íngrid nor her assembly (plagued by irregularities and violations of the statutes) could do was to decide for the bench. Usurping this personal and non-transferable decision-making power is neither legally nor politically valid, and a former presidential candidate should know that.

However, as the Opposition Statute guarantees the right of reply and greater operating resources to opposition parties, it seems that this influenced Mrs Betancourt, as if it were a good business deal. Perhaps she forgot a lesson from the first kindergarten of political ethics: both support and antagonism should be like true affection: neither bought nor sold.

Humberto and Carvalho had proposed to Mrs Betancourt an amicable and reasonable divorce, but that was too much to ask: these are two attributes she rarely exercises.

187,307 Colombians voted for De la Calle and he will be sworn in on Wednesday 20 July as Senator of the Republic of Colombia.

In his particular case, it is an honour to have been left without a party, and the main thing is that both his seat and that of Representative Carvalho remain firm. Let us also remember that the votes belong to the two of them, not to Ingrid or her party.

In short, the voters can rest assured: their seats are preserved, and the senator and representative know that their loyalty is to us, to peace, to independence and to decisions that favour Colombia.

Who loses and who wins with this expulsion?

Ingrid Betancourt continues to lose. One cannot go through life mistreating people like Humberto de la Calle and pretend that this does not have very negative consequences for her image, credibility and support. Everything in it has become meagre.

De la Calle and Carvalho win in freedom, and critical thinking, independence and politics without gagging win.

Whether or not the expulsion is contested is of secondary importance. What is fundamental is that the seats are not lost and the real oxygen, the one that has been forged in decades of work for peace and democracy, the one that allows us to breathe with integrity and gives life to the cells of our conscience, the one that honours, is and always will be Humberto de la Calle.

Here’s to your freedom, my dear senator.

The original article can be found here