The world seems to be immersed in a right-wing populist wave. We have examples to throw out of the window. In Chile, my namesake Rodolfo Carter, mayor of the populous commune of La Florida in the capital Santiago, seems to have hit a gold mine by ordering the demolition of drug dealers’ houses. In doing so, he seems to be giving a deadly signal of a thorough attack on drug trafficking.
This is how overnight he has automatically catapulted himself as a presidential candidate. The electoral thermometers seem to point this out. And no wonder. For some time now, his radar has been pointing in that direction, emulating the current president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele.
Carter’s political career links him closely to the right, particularly to the UDI, the party heir to the dictatorship, which he has been a member of for more than a decade and which he resigned from when he realised that the discrediting of politicians was limiting his presidential aspirations. Despite this decision, the right has continued to consider him as one of its own.
The mainstream media have found nothing better than to invite him daily to present himself and his ideas. As a sort of lone ranger, prince valiant, Superman or Zorro, he stands alone against the drug traffickers. His simple, reductionist, one-sided approach prevents him from seeing that drug trafficking is not tackled by taking a blind step. On the contrary, it is tackled by targeting its causes together with intervention and effective combat by the State’s institutions as a whole – police, municipalities, government, prosecutors and others – within their respective spheres of competence, in coordination with an empowered civil society, aware of its role and relevance in a state governed by the rule of law.
It is worth pointing out and remembering that organised crime and drug trafficking are not fought with conferences or media spectacles, but rather by working in an orderly, respectful, prudent, intelligent and silent manner, far from the spotlight of the conventional media and social networks. All within the framework of the vision of security as a state policy.
The political class has a responsibility in what is happening by not putting into action all the state institutions in support of the fight against this scourge. And the mayor who is now beginning to be imitated in Calama, another commune in the north of Chile in the middle of the mining area, is taking advantage of this. Turning a blind eye for decades while drug trafficking expanded is costing us dearly.
However, the temptation for circus, stridency and high-sounding declarations are bad advisors. There are no shortcuts here.