Colombia Recent History

The distribution of power between liberals and conservatives continued even after the National Front ended in 1974, although the political participation of other parties was allowed as of the 1968 constitutional reform.

From this period, the development of drug trafficking in Colombia began, which has been one of the key factors in the country’s conflictive situation ever since. Narco-terrorism, paramilitaries and organized crime keep the country in a state of permanent crisis, with actions such as the taking of the Palace of Justice of Colombia in 1985 or the attack on the DAS building in 1989, added to other events, the execution of political assassinations; the brutal massacre suffered by Unión Patriótica, and attacks on the civilian population, have made attempts to reach a peace agreement with guerrilla movements such as the FARC and the ELN fail.

During the Ernesto Samper administration (1994 – 1998), the government was involved in a scandal of alliances with drug traffickers that caused a governance crisis. Within this framework, the FARC and the government began peace negotiations between 1998 and 2002, which failed amid the intensification of the conflict, the economic crisis, and the implementation of the so-called Plan Colombia with the United States.

Álvaro Uribe’s government

In 2002, Álvaro Uribe Vélez became the first Colombian president elected by a party other than the liberal or conservative in more than 150 years, thanks to a multiparty coalition that also managed to reform the constitution, which prevented immediate reelection and thus Uribe obtained a second term in 2006.

His administration negotiated a process to demobilize paramilitary groups, and the national army continues to fight non-demobilized guerrilla and paramilitary groups. The Uribe government unleashed conflicts with the governments of Ecuadorand Venezuela by playing the role of North American gendarme in the region and violating the sovereignty of both countries using the fight against the guerrillas as a pretext.

Decades of conflict have left tens of thousands of civilians dead and thousands more have been victims of forced disappearance and displacement. Colombia remains the country with the highest number of kidnappings and continues to lead the production of cocaine, which has led to it being classified as one of the most violent countries in the world.

In 2010 Uribe tried again to modify the Constitution to ensure a third term, but the Constitutional Court ruled against him, preventing him from presenting his candidacy for the presidency.

Invasion of Ecuadorian territory

According to topschoolsintheusa, the invasion of the 1 of March of 2008 where Colombian armed forces shot dead between 20 and 22 guerrillas in Ecuadorian territory sparked a diplomatic scale conflict with the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador. Commander Raúl Reyes, number 2 in the FARC command structure, was killed in the ambush.

The investigations carried out by the Ecuadorian authorities show that there was never any combat by the attacked FARC command, since the 18 deceased were sleeping in their underwear, none of the guerrilla command had the opportunity to enter combat or surrender.

The testimonies of the settlers in the area, as well as the tunnels developed on the dirt floor of the camp show that four bombs were fired from Colombian planes that entered Ecuadorian territory. According to military intelligence investigations, these were fired from the south of the camp, which means that the planes had penetrated more than 10 kilometers into Ecuadorian territory when the attack was carried out.

After the bombs were dropped from these planes, several “Supertucanes” helicopters, belonging to the Colombian air force, entered. Special commandos descended from these helicopters to finish off the guerrillas who were wounded in the camp, as shown by the bullets in most of the corpses of the guerrillas, many of them piled up in a specific area of the camp and killed. by the back. Even the photographs shown by the Colombian government of the corpse of Commander Raúl Reyes show how he has a shot in the left part of his face.

In an act of sovereignty and dignity, the government of the Republic of Ecuador withdrew its ambassador in Bogotá, expelled the Colombian ambassador in Quito, and mobilized the troops to the border, while requesting the extraordinary meeting of the Assembly General of the OAS, CAN and MERCOSUR.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, in an act of repudiation of the action, withdrew the Venezuelan ambassador from Bogotá and sent military troops to the Venezuela-Colombia border.

Tensions with Venezuela

Álvaro Uribe’s government was characterized by a very tense relationship with its neighbor Venezuela. According to declassified cable by Wikileaks since coming to power Uribe he considered Hugo Chavez as a serious problem.

The 13 of December of 2004 was kidnapped in Caracas in a covert action by the Colombian authorities the guerrilla Rodrigo Granda and immediately transferred to the border and then to Bogotá ; which caused a diplomatic crisis with Venezuela[1] .

Government of Juan Manuel Santos

Investiture speech

The 7 of August of 2010, Juan Manuel Santos formally assumed the presidency of Colombia. During an act held outside the National Congress. After receiving the presidency band from the hands of his political mentor, former president Álvaro Uribe, Santos presented his plans for his stage that would include from August 7, 2010 to August 7, 2014.

Days before his inauguration and in moments of its development, many at the international level would express their interest in Santos’ actions to rebuild relations with his neighbors Ecuador and Venezuela. Referring to that issue, he stated:

We want to live in peace with our neighbors, we will respect them so that they respect us (…) Just as I do not recognize enemies in national politics, neither do I in any foreign government. Respect, cooperation and diplomacy will be the axes of our international relations [2]

Presidential Summit of Santa Marta

Days after Santos took office as president, the newly appointed Foreign Minister of Colombia, María Ángela Holguín met in Caracas with her Venezuelan homologist Nicolás Maduro. During the meeting, both agreed to a meeting between Juan Manuel Santos and the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, which would initially take place in Bogotá and was later transferred to the Colombian city of Santa Marta, a city that historically links Colombia and Venezuela. it was there where he died the liberator Simon Bolivar on 17 December as as 1830. [3]

The October of August of 2010, President Hugo Chavez arrived in the city of Santa Marta and his arrival was greeted by Santos and the then Secretary General of UNASUR, Argentina ‘s Nestor Kirchner who served as an observer. [4]

At the end of the meeting agreed by the presidents Hugo Chávez and Juan Manuel Santos at the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, Santa Marta, Colombia, the agreement reached was read. “Declaration of Principles”, where both leaders agreed to “relaunch the bilateral relationship” through “transparent and respectful dialogue”, with emphasis on diplomatic channels to resolve differences. Likewise, it was agreed to work on the basis of the principle of “non-interference in the internal affairs of the countries” and “respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the States.”

In the same way, the agreement includes working on the integral impulse in border areas and communities, for which they agreed to “promote joint programs in economic and social matters.”

Finally, the agreement contemplates the creation of five work commissions: Debt payment and re-impetus of commercial relations, economic complementation agreement between both nations, developing a work plan for social investment on the border, joint development of infrastructure works. and, the last safety commission.

It was agreed to maintain joint work at the level of foreign ministers. Presidents Hugo Chávez and Juan Manuel Santos, after finishing the private meeting, appear before the media where the official announcement of the resumption of relations is made. [5]

Colombia Recent History