For the last forty-nine years Colombia has been involved in a destructive and deadly civil war. While this civil war has been going on for almost half of a century, very little is known about this in the United States. The medias coverage of Colombia is almost always centered on their drug trafficking and production of the Coca leaves used to manufacture cocaine. A study from 2010 shows that the rate of killings and war crimes have increased each time after receiving aid from the United States. Peace talks are finally taking place in Cuba between the government and the rebel leaders but there are still a lot of issues to be resolved. The United States has been continually providing military equipment to Colombian forces in the hope of them running out the drug traffickers. Human rights groups have noticed that the war on drugs and the war on the rebels have become increasingly intertwined. Until the United States stops sending aid to Colombia there is very little chance for peace.
The United States Free Trade agreement with Colombia is also fueling the fire between the rebels and government soldiers. Thousands of small farmers have been displaced from their homes and took to the streets to protest the “United States brokered free-trade agreements that undercut the local economy”. The citizens of Colombia are enraged with the government. The lack of basic infrastructure is causing thousands of people to pour into the streets in mass protest. The United States has turned a blind eye to the constant mistreatment of the Colombian citizens and has allowed the situation to get out of hand. If it were not for the free trade agreement this civil war would not have lasted this long. The United States is only looking out for their own interest instead of the interests of the nation their decisions are affecting. The farmers can’t contend with the cheaper imports that are forced upon Colombia and in turn leave them with no money and no work. “They say that high priced imported seeds and low cost grains that Colombia is obligated to purchase as part of the U.S. Colombia Free Trade Agreement make it impossible for local producers to compete”. The United States cripples local economies and forces nations into corners through their trade agreements. They have no regard for anything that doesn’t not benefit their objectives. Colombia is caught in the United States strangle hold and there is no plan to let them go any time soon.
Jeremy Kryt “Is the U.S. Enabling the Humanitarian Crisis in Colombia?”, In These Times, September 11, 2013, http://inthesetimes.com/article/15475/us_military_aid_and_colombias_human_rights_crisis/
“Q&A: Colombia’s Civil Conflict” BBC News, May 27, 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12447532
Student Researcher: Jonah Birnbaum (College of Marin)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)