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Conservative Stronghold on a Red Continent

Conservative Stronghold on a Red Continent

Colombia can without a doubt be labeled as the black sheep of the South-American family. The internal struggle against the communistic rebel group FARC and negative tensions with left-wing neighboring countries,  shows a rather conservative tendency.

Ever since political parties have emerged, the conservative and liberal parties have monopolized the Colombian political field. This can be traced back to the 19th century. After independence from Spain  was gained in 1822, the newborn country Gran Colombia also consisted of the countries we now know as Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama. Venezuela and Ecuador quickly separated themselves due to political differences. Panama gained independence in the early 20th century as a consequence of a civil war together with US influence due to the construction of the Panama Canal.

The US have since then remained great influence in the strategically located country, Colombia can be seen as the gatekeeper of the South-North American route. During the Cold War, drug cartels emerged which financed illegal armed groups, including FARC. This left-wing threat, combined with the drug issues resulted in several US agencies operating in Colombia, upholding the liberal-conservative government.

The civil war with the FARC caused the nation much harm. With the wild jungle as their base, the rebels are also spread over the territory of Ecuador and Venezuela. These countries don’t seem to take any action against them and their governments even appear sympathetic. Neither do they tolerate Colombian military operations on their soil, which led to the mobilization of Venezuelan troops to the Colombian border in 2008.

Altogether, the nation has turned out fine: pressing the rebels back in the jungle and arresting several drug lords. The country is prospering in comparison to many other countries on the continent, keeping the people satisfied and the right-wing government intact.

 

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About Tobias Frankema

Studies IR/IO, but too attached to the Netherlands to aspire an international career. Loves football which is as a matter of fact his only hobby.

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