La patuleca clientelista


Roberto Amorebieta

Se acercan las elecciones presidenciales y pocos analistas se han ocupado de medir el peso real que pueden tener las llamadas “maquinarias” en la definición del próximo presidente de la República. Se sabe que los partidos Cambio Radical y Centro Democrático han hecho alianzas con los más impresentables especímenes de la fauna politiquera nacional, pero no existe una forma fiable de saber qué tanto peso real tiene el aporte de estas estructuras clientelistas en la votación final de algún candidato.

El clientelismo, entendido como la práctica política de intercambio de favores por votos, es por sus propias características, un fenómeno de difícil medición. No hay actas, no hay compromisos escritos, todo es de palabra. Muchas veces ni siquiera se viola la ley pero los acuerdos que se logran en una relación clientelista casi siempre rozan los márgenes de lo ético. La estructura a través de la cual funciona el clientelismo, que entre los años 30 y 40 del siglo XX tenía forma piramidal (con un jefe, unos intermediarios y unos votantes), hoy se asemeja más a una telaraña, donde los jefes locales y regionales venden su lealtad al mejor postor e incluso comparten adscripciones con jefes políticos rivales.

Si en las elecciones regionales o las parlamentarias, las redes clientelistas o “maquinarias” se han comportado de una forma más o menos predecible (los casos de la casa Char en el Atlántico o la casa Gnecco en el Cesar son emblemáticos), en las elecciones presidenciales no ocurre necesariamente lo mismo. Los caciques regionales pueden hacer públicas sus adhesiones a tal o cual jefe político nacional, pero eso no significa que todos sus votos sean endosables.

Se calcula que el voto clientelista en Colombia es de casi ocho millones de personas, casi todas de sectores populares. Es una minoría significativa si se le compara con la participación total que estará alrededor de los 17 millones, pero en cualquier caso no se puede asumir que todas esas personas votarán por los candidatos de la derecha.

Muchas de esas personas pueden pertenecer a una red clientelista pero también saber que Colombia necesita un cambio. En la Costa Atlántica existe una expresión para denominar el ejercicio libre del voto a pesar de las injerencias, la patuleca, que consiste en decirle al político que sí y luego votar por otro candidato. Así como el clientelismo ha sido una práctica usada históricamente por las clases dominantes para mantener el control del sistema político, las clases trabajadoras también pueden y deben hacer uso de él para decidir por sí mismas. La patuleca es una de las maneras: Decir que sí y decidir autónomamente; aceptar el sancocho y votar por Petro.

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