Conflict in Colombia

The Colombian conflict is an ongoing armed conflict that has been taking place in Colombia since the mid-1960s. It involves multiple armed groups, including the Colombian government, right-wing paramilitary groups, left-wing guerrilla groups, and criminal organizations. The conflict has its roots in a variety of social, economic, and political factors, including poverty, inequality, and the concentration of land ownership. It has led to significant violence, human rights abuses, and displacement of people. The Colombian government has been engaged in peace negotiations with some of the armed groups in recent years.

Pablo Escobar was a Colombian drug lord and narcoterrorist who was the leader of the Medellín Cartel, which was one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the world during the height of his career in the 1970s and 1980s. He was born in Rionegro, Colombia in 1949 and began his career as a criminal in the 1970s, building a vast empire based on the trafficking of cocaine.

Escobar was known for his brutality and his use of violence to maintain control over the drug trade and to protect his interests. He was also known for his public image as a Robin Hood figure, who built schools, soccer fields, housing, and other public works for the poor.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Colombian government, with the aid of the United States, launched a manhunt for Escobar known working with Pablo’s enemies like paramilitaries and the Cali Cartel, which eventually led to his death in 1993.

Escobar’s death marked the decline of the Medellin cartel but violence continued from other groups and criminal activities until the year 2000s, and of course, it didn’t mark the end of the drugtrade.

Comuna 13, Medellín, Antioquia.

Colombia has a long history of guerrillas and insurgency as well, dating back to the 1950s. The country has seen a number of armed groups emerge over the years, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the Popular Liberation Army (EPL). These groups have fought against the Colombian government and have been involved in various conflicts and controversies, including drug trafficking and human rights abuses.

The FARC, which was founded in 1964, was the largest and most well-known of these groups. It was a Marxist-Leninist organization that aimed to overthrow the government and establish a socialist state. The group was involved in a long-running insurgency against the Colombian government and was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

In 2016, the Colombian government and the FARC reached a peace agreement, which led to the demobilization of the group and its transformation into a political party. However, some members of the FARC did not demobilize and instead formed a new armed group called the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC-EP). The ELN, which was founded in 1964, is a left-wing guerrilla group that has also been involved in the Colombian conflict. It has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

The EPL was a left-wing guerrilla group that was active in the 1980s and 1990s. It was involved in a number of clashes with the Colombian military and was also involved in drug trafficking. The group demobilized in 1991 as part of a peace agreement with the Colombian government.

In recent years, there has been a decrease in the level of violence and conflict in Colombia, due in part to the peace agreements reached with the FARC and other armed groups. 

ELN, National Liberal Army.

Paramilitaries in Colombia are groups of armed, private individuals or organizations that have been accused of committing human rights abuses, including kidnappings, torture, and extrajudicial killings. They have been active in the country for decades, often with the support of state security forces or as proxies for powerful economic interests.

The origins of paramilitaries in Colombia can be traced back to the 1960s, when landowners and business owners began organizing self-defense groups to protect their interests from left-wing guerrilla groups. These groups, known as “convoy security groups,” were later co-opted by drug traffickers and other criminal groups, who used them to enforce their control over certain territories and engage in illicit activities.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Colombian government supported the formation of paramilitary groups as part of its counterinsurgency strategy against left-wing guerrilla groups. These groups were often given training, weapons, and logistical support by the military and were used to carry out counterinsurgency operations in rural areas. However, they were also accused of committing widespread human rights abuses, including forced displacement, sexual violence, and extrajudicial killings.

In 2005, the Colombian government signed a peace agreement with the largest paramilitary organization, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which provided for the demobilization of the group and its members. 

AUC, United Self Defense of Colombia.

Today Colombia and Medellín is telling a completely different story, Medellín has transformed into new and vibrant city, the reselience of its people named “Paisas” are an example to the world of change, of inspiration, the new generations seek for a better future and they are leading the new path to take.

Birds of peace and transformation, Plaza San Antonio, Medellín.

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