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Colombias Conflict

In: Historical Events

Submitted By thaliejuan
Words 1919
Pages 8
Juan Hernandez
Prof: Anna Krift
Global Crisis in Response
Feb 16 2014
Colombia´s conflict
For many years Colombia has been characterized as a country of drugs and violence marked by internal conflict that lasts until today. This conflict has claimed the lives of about 2 million people, which the population of Colombia today is 47 million, within that internal war has killed 4,2% of the current population (NoticiasCaracol,1). It is a very high percentage with regards an internal war of 60 years. That's why Colombia has suffered from armed conflict for several years and it has negatively impacted the country's development. To understand the issue it is necessary to see the origins of this conflict and also how this has affected the country. The conflict dates back to 1946 when it began a civil and political conflict between supporters of the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party for taking control of the State Power. But the outbreak was the assassination of the Liberal presidential candidate Jorge Eliecer Gaitán. Gaitán was the leader of poor agricultural producers and represented the interests, created jobs and economic opportunities for them to take advantage (Downing,1). But since the death of Gaitán, farmers lose their representation in politics and its future had been vanished.
Because of the economic problems and tensions between liberals and conservatives, Colombia entered a period called "La Violencia " (The Violence) which lasted from 1948 to 1960 until they reached an agreement between liberals and conservatives. In this period of violence, diverse groups outside the law as the National Liberation Army (ELN), comprised of university students inspired by the Cuban revolution and Che Guevara theory, which had been present in the workers' struggle. Another group was formed the April 19 movement (M -19), was an urban movement that represents students and workers from the dubious electoral loss of Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, the 45th President of Colombia that thanks to a coup became the first president - dictator of Colombia, the M -19 they are paramilitaries and goes against the guerrillas(Downing,2). The terrorist group is known worldwide Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), have Marxist ideals, self-described as guerrillas, formed more as an agrarian and peasant movement (Downing,1). From what began as political ideals and a place in the politics of the country to represent the rights of students, peasants and popular people, ended up being the root of the conflict that became a conflict of interest between capitalism, communism and narcotic industry. Groups like FARC and M -19 wanted political powers; they pressured the Colombian government violently, attacking innocent communities and infrastructure. Thus, the wealthy conservatives in major cities such as Bogota, Medellin and Cali, created the paramilitaries to combat the guerrilla groups (Downing,1). This conflict between paramilitaries and guerillas groups gave rise to illegal activities and provided the perfect place for drug production and trafficking, mainly to the U.S. Between 1980 and 1990 , the drug cartels began to form in major cities such as Bogota, Medellin and Cali, these illegal group made alliances with the guerrillas and paramilitaries to maintain control of the territory and drug production, once again, these illegal groups attacked innocent civilians in order to sow fear, empower them and keep attacking the Colombian government. The guerrillas realized that drug trafficking could make large amounts of money, and thus the political ideals were lost in order to control the drug trade, they expanded their production areas and control resources such as coca and marijuana.
Nowadays, the guerrillas are involve in extortion, where they ask for money in exchange for the kidnapped hostage and they continue with the production of illicit substances, making these the two ways for their economic support. On the other hand, they continue with terrorist attacks against the population but it has declined because they no longer have the same power they had a few years ago. In this dates the FARC have about 10000 soldiers, where 30 % are under age, young people are captured and forced to be part of the terrorist group (ONU, 1). In 2008, Alvaro Uribe Velez the President, had a hard hit to the FARC when, killed in various operations the co-founder of the FARC, Pedro Antonio Marín alias "Tirofijo" Victor Julio Suárez alias " Monojojoy " chief of military operations and member of the FARC (Downing,1). This has affected the disintegration of this group, many guerrillas have also demobilized. From a few days ago the news has been talking about a peace treaty, where FARC considers leaving weapons and illegal businesses. Moreover, the ELN is estimated to have 2,500 soldiers. In 1991, the M -19 delivered weapons and signed peace with 880 soldiers (NoticiasCaracol,1).
The armed conflict in Colombia has been affecting more than half a century the country's development. As shown in the book "The Bottom Billion" by Paul Collier, The Conflict Trap is a cause of underdevelopment and poverty. This book can be related to what happens to Colombia because it talks about the causes and consequences of civil war, and is precisely what Colombia lived in the 40s. One of the causes of civil war as well as the book mentions "While civil war reduces income, low income indeed heightens the risk of civil war" (Collier, 19), Colombia went through an economic crisis and rights of the peasants and the lower classes were not respected and sank deeper into poverty.
As also discussed in this book, one can see that the relationship between low income and civil war is given more in poorer and undeveloped countries, as the case of Colombia that at that time was considered a third world country. A curious point that Collier talks about on page 20, is about young men who are recruited by rebel groups, and he says they are cheap in an environment of hopeless poverty, and this is what happens in Colombia, where 30% of FARC are young which are threatened or give them hope of finding something better in these terrorist groups. A clear example of the book is that natural resources funds conflict "So natural resources help to finance conflict and even to motivate it. One example is "conflict of diamonds" The UN defines them as "diamonds originate from areas that controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate government and internationally recognized that used to fund military action in opposition to those governments." (Collier, 21) in this case, the natural resource that guerrillas use to illicit cultivation of coca and marijuana is how they finance their terrorist activities.
As a final point, what Collier says about the economic damage caused by the war, the growth achieved in the period of peace falls apart, these wars also left a legacy of terrorist organizations where violence and extortion becomes profitable and they still doing because that's all they know, as in the case of Colombia, where they kidnap important people, such as the case of Ingrid Betancourt, a presidential candidate, that was later released through the "Jaque" operation carried out in 2008 by President Alvaro Uribe. Moreover, the armed conflict in Colombia can also be related to the reading "from Hegel’s Phenomenology Reading" by John Russon, because first of all, it talks about the conflict between Antigone and Creon that one might have the reason. What happened was that Polynices, who was the brother of Antigone was claiming the throne of his father Oedipus, Creon who was the uncle of them had under his control the city of Thebes. The other brother of Polynices and Antigone, who wass Eteocles supported King Creon. In a dispute between brothers Eteocles defending the city and Polynices for trying to invade and take back the city, both of them die. Creon decreed that Eteocles who was defending the city has to be buried, but for attempting to invade Thebes, Polynices must remain unburied and the one who try to bury him will be punished by death, Antigone acted in favor of his brother and decided to bury him (Anouilh, 1). So this reading is an analysis of which one is right or not."Antigone acts for what she sees as divine will, while Creon acts for human law and the institution of the polis, that is, the polis acts" (Russon , 148). Both of them act by two opposite extreme ideas, and it is the case of Colombia where in the beginnings of the guerrillas was to defend the needs of the poor, while the other (conservative party) defended his power to become richer. As it is possible to see, Antigone acted that way because she felt herself compelled to act, it was a sacred act and it was part of society to bury people. Like the guerrillas, they defended the rights of the poor people, therefore it can be said that in both cases they act according to what society is considered fair. In the end, as Antigone is sentenced to death, she suicide, and her fiance who is the son of Creon commits suicide as well, the mother of the son of Creon who is the wife of Creon also suicide, and this can be taken as the start of a protest, a revolution for what is right. Because beyond what is established as a law, the divine will goes first. This is what happened with the guerillas, the dissatisfied peasants with the little offered to them, they decided to do something about it and defended their rights, because it is first the natural rights than the control and power of a government that was ruled by the Conservative Party. In conclusion, the armed conflict has terrorized Colombia for more than half a century, which began with healthy and fair ideals, it turned to violence and war. That's why Colombia has suffered from armed conflict for several years and it has negatively impacted the country's development. As it is possible to see, this conflict in Colombia is related to reading Collier because conflict is a trap that does not let to develop socially, politically and economically. Finally the rights of the people must be respected above any power, as in Antigone that her brother had the right to have a sacred burial, and because of prohibitions and taking advantage of people, is when the violent conflicts leave thousands of people dead, as in the case of Colombia.

Works Cited
“From Readings Hegel´s Phenomenology” Dialogues of self and society level 200.2ND ed. Eds. Maureen Goldstein, Judith Adelson. Boca Raton, FL: Lynn University, 2009-2010, 147-153 Print. 16 Feb. 2014.
Anouilh, Jean. “Antigone”. United States. SparksNotes. 2012. Web. 16. Feb. 2014. <https://www.sparknotes.com/drama/antigone/summary.html>
Collier, Paul. “The Bottom Billion” Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it. New York: Oxford University, 2008. 1-209 Print. 16 Feb. 2014.
Downing, Cristal. Armed Conflict and Ethnic Diversity: Colombia. Clacs.New York University. 2012. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://clacs.as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/28467/Downing_BackgroundEssay.pdf>
NoticiasCaracol.com. Conflicto Colombiano ha causado 2200000 muertes y 250000 desaparecidos. Nación. Bogotá. 2013. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://www.noticiascaracol.com/nacion/video-299945-conflicto-colombiano-ha-causado-220000-muertes-y-25000-desaparecidos>
ONU. Informe Anual del Secretario General sobre los Niños y los Conflictos Armados. Colombia. Bogotá. 2013. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://nacionesunidas.org.co/blog/2013/06/14/informe-anual-del-secretario-general-sobre-los-ninos-y-los-conflictos-armados/>

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