Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hope in Colombia?

This is really more Trend's thing, but I thought I would comment briefly on the situation in Colombia. I've long had a list of countries that I thought would never get better--Haiti, Palestine, Congo, Somalia. And Colombia. The problems Colombia faces are so intractable that I thought it would take a miracle for the nation to normalize itself.

But perhaps that miracle is happening. The FARC has weakened signficantly in the last year, which I have occasionally commented upon. Although I usually support left-leaning Latin American movements, the FARC have been nothing but criminals for at least 25 years and have made any kind of real social reform in Colombia impossible. It was quite unlikely that Colombia could become a functioning nation with the FARC still active. But their decline, topped off by the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and other prominent hostages two weeks ago, makes me feel hopeful.

Even if the FARC goes away though, the paramilitaries have to be brought to justice. My fear is that a right-wing victory in Colombia could lead to revenge killings by the paramilitaries and perhaps a purely military regime. But Colombian senator Carlos Garcia, a right-wing politician, was arrested on Friday for his ties to paramilitary groups. Garcia's case bears watching closely. If he is prosecuted for his crimes, and if the Uribe government can bring the paramilitary groups to justice, perhaps Colombia can become a functioning nation-state for the first time in several decades.

Would you care to add anything Trend?