We had the honor of hosting former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos at Fletcher this week.  Many of us had questions about the Peace Accords and their implementation under the hostile Duque administration, about the need for land reform in Colombia, and concerns about the ongoing assassinations of social leaders and activists.  Unfortunately, the agenda took another turn when the event began with a screening of “Port of Destiny: Peace,” a hagiographic piece of political propaganda that left me queasy.  From the opening scenes of President Santos driving a car through admiring throngs to Santos sitting at his desk with a furrowed brow as he ponders how he will bring peace to Colombia; from his nuclear family praising his leadership to the images of him as the nation’s father saving brown-skinned peasants and doling out a home to an Afro-Colombian woman and her children: this film is a gender/race/class runaway wreck.  Tony Blair offers praise, as does Bill Clinton. A holy trinity of masculine leadership! Erased completely are the years of peace-building efforts by civil society organizations; this is History As The Work of One Great Man, an emplotment strategy that is alternately nauseating, laughable and historically incorrect.  The cause of peace in Colombia would be better served by addressing the challenges of moving the process forward rather than beatifying Santos  in his own lifetime.

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