Colombia History in 21st Century

By | December 15, 2021

At the transition between the 20th and 21st sec. the socio-political situation of Colombia continued to present features of serious instability. The presidency of the leader of the Partido Social Conservador A. Pastrana Arango, although inaugurated in 1998 with a series of negotiations with the two most important guerrilla groups – the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional)) – however, proved unable to cope with the country’s overall crisis. The guerrillas did not in fact abstain from the usual and violent demonstrations of force (attacks, massacres, kidnappings and kidnappings), while the state of civil war between it, the army and the far-right paramilitary groups (organized in the AUC, Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia) risked destabilizing the equilibrium of the entire region, as demonstrated in the second half of the nineties by the positions taken by all the neighboring countries (lastly Brazil in November 1999), which alerted their troops at the borders because they often came violated by Colombian guerrillas in the course of their actions. Faced with the escalation of political violence, intens of thousands of citizens demonstrated across the country, while in the early months of 2000 the criticisms of international humanitarian organizations against the government’s inability to curb the violence of the AUC groups, responsible for numerous massacres, often with the connivance of sectors, intensified of the armed forces themselves. Even in the fight against the production and trafficking of drugs, which since the 1970s constituted a significant share of the gross national product and was a source of corruption of relevant sectors of the political class, the Pastrana administration showed a substantial inadequacy in the first two years of government. For Colombia 2000, please check neovideogames.com.

In August 2000, however, thanks to a policy of rapprochement with the United States, the Colombian president obtained from the latter an allocation of 1.3 billions of dollars to support the fight against drug traffickers. The ‘Plan Colombia’ was thus developed, which provided for a massive financial and organizational commitment to increase the efficiency of the armed forces and the judicial system. At the same time, a program was launched to combat the cultivation of coca, based on the aerial fumigation of cultivated fields and on the exacerbation of penalties for the farmers involved, a plan which was however attacked by many in the name of a different choice, aimed at favoring development. of alternative crops, and avoid the serious environmental damage that the program could cause (the aerial fumigations were therefore suspended by the government in March 2001). Between the summer and autumn of the same year, the country was marked by new serious episodes of violence, which finally led, in March 2002, to the breakdown of negotiations between the government and the guerrilla groups of the FARC and ELN. The political elections held in that same month saw a change in the weight and role of the political forces in the field: the two traditionally hegemonic parties, the liberal and the conservative, in fact registered a serious defeat, as they advanced, up to winning the majority of the votes., the minor parties, mostly deployed on the far right: in the House, out of 161 seats in total, the liberals received 54, the conservatives 21, and the rest to 38 minor groupings.

The success of the latter was the result of the mistrust of the electorate in the traditional political class, involved in sensational episodes of corruption and above all unable to complete the process of pacification with the guerrillas and to recompose the deep lacerations that weighed heavily on Colombian society.. The presidential elections took place in May 2002: bloodied by the actions of the FARC, which involved both urban and rural areas with attacks and kidnappings (among other people, the candidate of the Partido Verde Oxigeno, I. Betancourt, still hostage in 2006, was kidnapped.), the consultations recorded the victory of A. Uribe Velez. Liberal exponent who had broken with his party from far-right positions and who had conducted an electoral campaign all centered on the need to increase military spending in an anti-guerrilla function, Uribe defeated the official liberal candidate with 53 % of the votes, also supported by the conservatives, H. Serpa, which only reached 32 %. Following the bloody actions of the FARC (culminating in the massacre of 117 civilians in the church of Bojaya), the European Union included this group among terrorist organizations, as it had previously done with the AUC (May). The repressive action of the new administration, which as soon as it took office declared a state of emergency, extended the powers of the police to the army, created peasant militias and in December obtained from Parliament the approval of a tax and pension reform aimed at guaranteeing an increase in military spending, it obtained on the first positive effects: in 2003 in fact, political violence seemed to diminish, and popular consensus around Uribe grew significantly. But in October, the president suffered a serious political defeat with the failure of his ‘austerity plan’ – subjected to a popular referendum, the plan, which included, among other measures, a two-year freeze on public sector wages, a reduction in pensions, ‘administrative centralization in fiscal matters, did not obtain the necessary quorum of 25 % of the votes -, while members of the same government were forced to resign because they were involved in drug trafficking (Nov. 2003). Furthermore, the negotiations with the guerrillas did not achieve significant results, while in 2005 the demobilization of the AUC seemed to be coming to an end. However, the strengthening of relations with the United States, which led to the free trade treaty in February 2006, as well as the tax reform program which provided for the transfer of the greater tax burden from businesses to consumers, contributed, in the March elections of that the same year, to the victory of the coalition of parties that supported the president, even if in the face of a very high rate of abstentions (equal to more than 65% of voters). On the international level, during the administration of Pastrana and subsequently that of Uribe, relations with the United States improved considerably thanks to a policy of progressive alignment with Washington’s requests, especially as regards the fight against drug trafficking.

Colombia History in 21st Century