By Beatrice E. Rangel
In April 1986 the dwellers of Chernobyl, Ukraine, saw a plume of fire and smoke rise in the clean sky as reactor 4 began melting down after a steam explosion led to a fire.
And despite the USSR narrative about its command of the atom for the benefit of mankind, the people of Chernobyl and nearby villages were severely injured by the incident. The effects of radiation affected the intellectual and mechanical skills of a significant portion of the population in Chernobyl and its surroundings for almost two generations.
After the fall of the Soviet Union the world learned that all this damage could have been contained if the the nuclear plant management team had accepted from the outset that reactor 4 had melted down and that consequently people had to be immediately evacuated while fire fighters and hazard control teams had to be protected with anti-radiation suits and that the whole facility had to be turned off immediately.
None of these precautions were taken simply because under a totalitarian regime underlings are not supposed to bring bad news to their bosses.
A chain of denials thus covers the truth every time anything goes wrong.
As a consequence, people gathered around the plant so see the fire.
Plant workers hiked over the debris and radiated waters to leave the facility.
Firefighters attacked the raving fire in their everyday clothing.
Results of this denial could not have been more devastating - A whole generation was practically lost in Chernobyl and its surroundings.
To be sure , as succinctly described by one of the leading characters in the HBO Chernobyl series, "Every atom of uranium-2-3-5 is like a bullet, traveling at nearly the speed of light, penetrating nearly everything in its path: woods, metal, concrete, flesh. Every gram of U-235 holds over a billion trillion of these bullets." And those bullets penetrated everything in a 30 mile radius around Chernobyl.
In Colombia another Chernobyl has just happened without being noticed.
A silent and invisible radioactive explosion was triggered by the Supreme Court. It let Seuxis Paucias Hernandez Solarte aka FARC leader Jesus Santrich free after being caught closing a sale of cocaine to the Gulf Cartel in Mexico.
According to the Peace Agreements wrapped in Colombia eight leaders of the revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) would have a seat in parliament without having to run for these seats. One such place was reserved for Mr. Santrich.
The Peace Agreements also mandated that FARC members would cease to conduct illicit activities (among others drug cultivation and trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and counterfeiting).
Mr Santrich was thus caught red-handed in violation of the Peace Agreements. He had failed to take his seat because in light of the overriding evidence he was detained. After about 69 days of deliberation both the special courts for peace as well as the Supreme Court found that Mr. Santrich had to be let free to take his seat in parliament.
This was despite a U.S. request for extradition substantiated with evidence.
The decision by the Supreme Court of Colombia resembles that of the Chernobyl bureaucrats. Now like then, the bureaucratic network chose to hide the true nature and consequences of the event.
And just like Chernobyl the Santrich decision will affect millions of Colombians who will experience the lethal consequences of impunity. Notably among them, the swift and silent penetration of Colombian political institutions by organized crime.Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.