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Understanding Columbia

In: Social Issues

Submitted By wethercw
Words 446
Pages 2
The problems, which have plagued the Republic of Columbia in recent years, started in the early 1960’s with the formation of Marxist-left winged guerrilla factions and right winged paramilitary groups. The drug trade, kidnappings, political corruption, and arms dealing have primarily funded these groups. However, in spite of these multi-billion dollar illegal organizations President Juan Manuel Santos has made significant progress in anti-drug legislation and de-militarizing paramilitary factions before opening peace talks between the Columbian government, FARC and the ELN. The concept of the strength of a sovereign state can be defined by several factors. In the case of Columbia, there are significant trends that show it is transitioning from a weak state into a strong state. These trends in state power can be broken down into 3 categories: hard power, soft power and smart power. Hard power is just that. Government controlled military, police and other law enforcement agencies. Since 2002, Columbia’s military and police forces have grown by 50%. President Santos served as Defense Minister for 3 years prior to his Presidency. In that time he implemented many changes, which resulted in destabilizing prominent cartels and guerrilla insurgents. In 2012 it is estimated that threats of terrorist actions and control by organized crime was reduced to less than 6% of the nation. This is a direct result of the demobilization of several illegal arms groups. Soft Power is the use of diplomacy, negotiations and legitimacy. Nations need to have to ability to display their sovereignty to the global community through peaceful means. President Santos has used diplomacy in order to create a ceasefire with FARC and release all kidnapped persons by criminal organizations. All of these measures also made it feasible for President Obama to join the peace talks between the Columbian government, FARC and ELN. Santos will be able to use the influence of the United States to strengthen his position to put an end to these factions peacefully. Smart Power is the ability to combine hard and soft power into successful strategy. By setting strict conditions requiring FARC and ELN to release all hostages and establish a ceasefire prior to commencing peace talks to resolve the current unrest in Columbia, President Santos is flexing both diplomatic and military strength to the global community. This shows his conviction for a peaceful resolution to the crisis Columbia has been fighting for over 50 years. People may think of Columbia and think of drug cartels and corrupt government. But when you sit down and look at the actions and political intentions of the state it is very clear this democratic nation is, as President Santos states, “Taking the third path.”…...

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