Die Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the president who wanted to wake up Algeria

Abdelaziz Buteflika personified in his last days the schizophrenic love-hate relationship that the Algerians feel for their former metropolis, France. He reme

Die Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the president who wanted to wake up Algeria

Abdelaziz Buteflika personified in his last days the schizophrenic love-hate relationship that the Algerians feel for their former metropolis, France. He remembered again and again the dimensions of French colonization, but the slightest symptom was hurried to the Parisian Hospital of Val-de-Grâce to receive treatment wrapped in great secrecy. He suffered stomach cancer.

One of his latest medical visits raised a great controversy in the Gala Society. In April 2006 she had denounced the "genocide to Algerian identity" that supposed French colonization. France occupied Algeria for 132 years and at this time he annulled the local cultural identity with policies such as the prohibition of teaching in Arabic, apart from the exactions committed by Paris during the War of Independence (1954-1962).

It was not the first time that Buteflika remembered the black past of France in Algeria. But, on this occasion, he had the bad luck to suffer a relapse in his illness, so he had to be hospitalized in the metropolis. The leader of the extreme right, Jean Marie Le Pen, took it very ironically: "Scandalous meeting that Buteflika is allowed to say this publicly and the next day is in our house to take a treatment. I do not understand how he comes to heal the country of the abominable colonialists. "

In the middle, the impasse that the signature of the friendship treaty between the two countries was installed, initially envisaged for 2005, but delayed without date by the controversial law that France approved in February of that year, affirming "the positive role of the French presence In his ancient colonies ». Buteflika then scored him's position: Paris has to "recognize that he has tortured, murdered and exterminated" in Algeria during his colonization.

So Buteflika will not go down to history as a president who has contributed to improve Francolaggellago relations, despite being the second president of the independent Algeria that this country visited. The official visit of him in June 2000 was the first of a president of the former Gala Colony in 17 years, but he never stopped making war to France.

Abdelaziz Buteflika was born on March 2, 1937 in Tlemecén (Algeria). And as all Algerian patriot who is precipated, he also has a past as a fighter for the liberation of his colonialist yoke. When he was still very young he participated in the so-called Uxda Clan, a group formed by Algerian nationalists who focused on this Moroccan town during the Algerian War of Independence. They were followers of Colonel Huari Bumedian, then head of the staff of the National Liberation Army (ELN). With only 19, he joined the ranks of the ELN, military branch of the National Liberation Front (Single Party until 1989), where he would ascend until the rank of commander under the name of the war of Abdelkader Mali.

Faithful to Ahmed Ben Bella, the first president of the country, would see his loyalty rewarded when he was appointed outdoor holder, in 1963. Before he had taken care of the most modest portfolio of youth, sports and tourism.

BUMEDIAN overthrees Bella in 1965, but Buteflika was saved from the screen and continued as head of Algerian diplomacy until 1979. They were also the first years of the conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front and Buteflika led the Algerian posture to support the Saharawi After the signing of the tripartite agreements of Madrid, for whom Spain abandoned its former colony of Western Sahara and Morocco and Mauritania took advantage to occupy the region.

Then, after the death of Bumedian in 1978, Buteflika was about to succeed, although the military dome preferred Colonel Chadli Benyadid. He still remained afloat as Minister Counselor of Benyadid, but a year later he was excluded from the government and gradually stripped of the political positions of him in the FLN, during the President's purges.

Its definitive fall in disgrace occurred in December 1981. Accused of diverting 1,180,000 Swiss Francs from the Algerian Treasury, it was expelled from the central committee of the single party. The accusation was never proven, but Buteflika was exiled in Europe and did not return to Algiers until 1987, the date he reached in the FLN organ from where he was excluded. He did it in time to see how the country of him fell in a decade of violence and dirty warfare, after the coup d'état that led the military to dissolve the Islamic front of salvation, party that was to proclaim himself victorious in the legislative elections of 1992.

Buteflika opted to hide behind the scenes during the crisis and did not pronounce it. Not even when, at the beginning of 1994, the High commands of the army asked him to assume the presidency of the country. He would only accept the position "with all the power and all the consequences," he argued. The context was the worst scenario for this: the military dome had forced Benyadid and the successor of him, Mohamed Budiaf, was killed six months after ascending the presidency. The generals were only willing to accept a puppet president. Paper fulfilled Liamin Zerius perfection.

Buteflika did not return to the political scene until 1999, when presidential elections were held. And this time he triumphed in his long struggle to conquer power. He became the first civilian president of Algeria, although yes with the support of the generals. He obtained 73.79% of the votes, despite the fact that he was popularly known as "the man who speaks but who does not do anything." The elections, in Algeria, are still cooked in the basements of the staff.

Buteflika inherited a terribly fractured country for a decade of civil war, shocked by its atrocities and sore by the more than 150,000 dead and around 20,000 disappeared that the conflict took ahead. He then dedicated the speeches of him to what with surprise frankness he called the "mediocrity" of the Algerians. «All you have participated in this collapse. I'm not here to beg your vote, but to ask you to wake up, "he said.

His descriptions of Algeria after his Islamist drift were desolate: "In Algeria we work the land ... a little. Then, we put ourselves in the shade, we smoke a cigarette, we played the domino, we slept the nap, drink tea with friends and if someone bothers us, we return home and paste the woman. "

The serious economic crisis, Islamist terrorism and the division of the military dome were the great challenges that Buteflika had to face. In the streets of the country, young people saw their lives, leaning on the walls. It was the hitters, a word mixture of French and Arabic that designates the "People of the Wall", the men whose trade is "to hold the wall", according to the local humor. Seven out of 10 Algerians are less than 30 and unemployment among them exceeding 60%.

Faced with these dilemmas, the former guerrilla was opted by the politics of national reconciliation, of which he made the flag during his two mandates. He acted quickly to carry out the commission to institutionalize the return to the calm of a wound nation. The years 1997 and 98 were the bloodiest but also those of the beginning of the end of the Yihad organized in Algeria. In June 1999, Buteflika presented a law of national concord, which contemplated forgiveness for the Islamists who leave the weapons. The response was immediate and the Islamic army of salvation (EIS, military branch of the FIS) abandoned the violent struggle. He soon achieved the support of the leader of the FIS, Abasi Madani. And he submitted the law to referendum, obtaining the support of 98% of the population, at the end of that same year.

Re-elected in April 2004, he persisted in his policy of reconciliation and deepened in it presenting a controversial project of amnesty for terrorists who abandoned arms. He also exempt the military of abuses and exactions committed during the so-called dirty war. The project was approved, among criticism of human rights associations and the relatives of the victims of both sides. Buteflika did not hear them and gagged the press, which he lashed again and again against his management.

Outside, his achievements highlighted more than his mistakes: he had pointed out the goal of defeating Islamic terrorism, in a polarized and obsessed world of fighting jihadism since 11-S. Algeria escaped from the Soviet orbit and looked towards the United States, becoming an important ally in the Maghreb.

In April 2019, with the Great Wave of Popular Manifestations against the Military Regime, it was forced to resign when he already suffered very serious health problems.

The strategy was to forget to move forward, although without a marked address and at the cost of cutting freedoms. The Algeria of Butef would be amnestica. As if he reinvented a country that still does not exist, who is still struggling to know his lost identity. As he said: "The Algerians do not know if we are Amazigh [Berebers], Arab, European or French". After Buteflika, the Algerians will have to keep looking.

Updated Date: 21 September 2021, 03:14

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