Colombia: Drugs, War and Cartels

2311 Words May 18th, 2006 10 Pages
Colombia has been a very unstable country for the past fifty years. Beginning in the

1960s Marxist guerilla groups formed. The two strongest groups called themselves the National

Liberation Army (ELN) and the other was the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia

(FARC). Making things worse, in the 1970s drug trafficking became a huge problem for

Colombia. Drug cartels pretty much controlled the country starting in the mid-1970s. By the

1990s right-wing paramilitaries had formed. They were made mainly of drug traffickers and

landowners. The main paramilitary group called themselves the United Self Defense Forces of

Colombia (AUC).

Since the 1970s, Colombia has been home to some of the most violent and sophisticated
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Violence was an integral part of the operations of the Medellin syndicate from the start.

As the organization grew in size, power and wealth, it also grew in ruthlessness and violence.

After first establishing their dominance on the South American side of the market, in 1978 and

1979 the Medellin drug bosses turned their attention to control the wholesale distribution in the

United States.

"As the cartels consolidated control over a billion-dollar drug industry, their leaders

sought political power through legal and illegal means, all backed by violence" (Younger and

Rosin). "Several bought interests in local radio stations and newspapers. Others, like Pablo

Escobar, sought to create patron-client followings in the cities by handing out cash to the poor,

building low income housing in the slums or purchasing sports teams and constructing sports

stadiums. Lehder went as far as to create his own Latino Nationalist Party and to publicize his

hybrid political ideology through his newspaper" (Country Studies). In 1982 Escobar was

actually elected as an alternate congressman on a Liberal Party slate in his home department of

Antioquia. Pablo Escobar was incredibly violent and his quest for power within the Colombian government led to a stand-off between the cartel and the government. During the 1980s, the cartel revolted against the
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