mermelada (Colombia): pork barrel spending
I ran across this translation in an article in the New Republic analyzing the difficulties Colombia will face after peace accords are signed.
Here are a couple of paragraphs to give you a taste of it, including the use of the term:
"The exercise of extrajudicial repression by regional elites is a
tradition old enough to be considered a structural aspect of Colombian
governance. Because the central government lacks the ability,
legitimacy, and will to assert itself in the far-flung enclaves of
Colombia’s notoriously difficult terrain, it’s dependent on clientalist
party machines to maintain stability and collect votes in those areas.
This arrangement has proven durable, so long as the mermelada—marmalade,
the Colombian equivalent of pork barrel spending—gets spread around.
But historically, it has meant that any attempts at meaningful
nationwide reform—of the kinds being hashed out in Havana—are quite
literally dead on arrival once they reach the regions where they’re most
But for Santos, there may be a more immediate danger than
the backlash of the reactionary right. The economic model that’s been
built on this system of state-sanctioned bloodletting is beginning to
wobble under the weight of its own contradictions. Oil prices have
plummeted since the start of the FARC peace process. What Santos once
heralded as a “locomotor” of economic growth
is now a sinkhole in the heart of his budget. At a time when the
government is essentially committing itself to massive state-building in
Colombia’s guerrilla-controlled territories, Santos is passing austerity measures to stay in the good graces of Western financial institutions. Inflation is high, his approval ratings are tanking, and Colombians are being asked to ration energy—despite living in a country that is among the world’s largest producers of oil and coal."
read on here