A Documentary, America’s Backyard: Columbia

The Longest Drug War

Untitled-1We live in a world where communication is vital. The problem we face is the lack of communication between two groups. Whether allies or enemies, there is often a miscommunication somewhere between them that will catapult into a huge problem.

In Columbia, there are two groups: the guerrillas and the parliamentarians.

The drug war in Columbia has gone on for over 20 years. The guerrillas are screaming “let us grow and cultivate our coco plants” while the other in the interest of public safety is trying to get rid of them with any means necessary. Instead of the parliamentarians diplomatically engaging the opposition, the peasants/guerrillas get their plants mutilated.

There is a misconception that if something needs to be curtailed; guns and military officers are sent in to deal with it. Why jump to that right of the bat? why not have that difficult conversation and get a compromise worked out?

The farmers need a living and coco plants provide it. Yes it’s illegal; however, put that aside and look at what the country is lacking: the means to live a better life. Watching this documentary, I got a look at the conditions of peasantry lifestyles and how farmers want to do something different but it’s the life they’re forced into because of the lack of economic stability in Columbia.

Alavaro Bulletros, a farming community leader, said about the parliamentarians, “It’s incredible to see a soldier putting the barrel of her rifle inside a women’s mouth telling her to “‘start talking, to the guerilla snitch'” because they allege she’s refusing to tell the whereabouts of the guerilla”.

That’s just one perspective on it. Then you have the parliamentarians who claim they want people to be safe and keep everyone working but under the restraint of doing something legal, for example mining, which is an alternative to the harvesting of the cocoa plant. But there are some severe drawbacks to “helping”. While they are eliminating the areas where the coco crop has been emptied, they have damaged water and other natural resources pertinent to survival.

It concerns me that the only mention of the U.S. in this documentary should cast such a dark shade of grey. While Al Gore did give a promising address towards Columbia in the statement, “Counter-Narcotic Projects sustainable economic development, the protection of human rights humanitarian and stimulatory private investment and promoting Columbian economic growth.”

It seems like the ball was dropped when Bush came into the presidency I can’t tell whether we’re the good or bad guys, which struck a disappointed nerve for me

It’s not just a documentary saying that the U.S. has been less than cooperative in aiding Columbia’s economic issue. An article published in Huffington Post: Colombia Peace and Drugs states: “The United States government, which has done so much to fuel the war, can do much to support peace”.

Reaffirming the documentary’s plea about the harmful tactics of the Parliamentarians of Columbian land, the Huffington Post says, “The United States Government should embrace the voluntary community-based vision for drug policy, without aerial spraying land in the drug policy chapter, and should fully transform its assistance from war to peace.”

According to the Huffington Post, “Over 81 percent of whom were civilians—untold numbers have suffered violence, and nearly 6 million have been internally displaced. This peace process represents the best hope for a negotiated settlement in a generation.”

IMAGE TAKEN from telesurtv.com