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Publisher Description

Once the Colombian Constitutional Court denied Alvaro Uribe a third presidential term in February, several candidates stepped forward, with former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos and Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus leading the pack. All candidates predictably campaigned on a more or less similar platform of continuing Uribe's hard line policy of cracking down on crimes and violence in the urban areas; after all, this policy has been successful and has earned Uribe a wildly high 70 percent approval rating from the public. But Colombia's new president must do more than simply continue Uribe's security policy: he must expand its scope from an urban-centric focus to include the countryside. The new administration can no longer afford to neglect the issues of growing violence in the rural areas, as the left-wing guerillas and right-wing paramilitias reestablish their power centers in the countryside along the Colombian border. Colombia has been suffering from an armed conflict since the 1960s, and the resilience of violence is in large part due to the fact that the militant groups involved are fighting for control of the narcotics trade, especially of cocaine. Colombia supplies about 90 percent of all cocaine traded in the United States and 70 percent of all cocaine traded throughout the world. Left-wing guerilla groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) use profits from the drug trade to undermine the Colombian government, and right-wing paramilitary groups that were originally set up to combat the insurgency groups have increasingly become violent themselves. Recognizing that the Colombian civil conflict has repercussions outside the country's borders, the United States has poured over US$5 billion to the Andean country through Plan Colombia, an aid program aimed at security and antinarcotics efforts.

Business & Personal Finance
June 22
Harvard International Relations Council, Inc.
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.