The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is reaching an all new level of severity. International ties between Venezuela and foreign actors have never been more complicated.
Latin America and the Caribbean is considered to be the most violent region in the world. Despite widespread gains in education, poverty reduction, and living standards, Latin American countries continue to have disproportionately high rates of violent crime. Some may find this puzzling, since many of these countries have particularly powerful military and police forces. This then raises the question: Why haven't new policing strategies in the region had any impact? Is Latin America in a 'Security Trap'?
While the concept of tourism in areas of historic tragedies is far from being a modern phenomenon, it was only recently that the term dark tourism was created and regarded by academics. Dark tourism was first written about by two men, John Lennon and Malcolm Foley, in their 2000 book that investigated “tourist interest in recent death, disaster, and atrocity.” In 2011, Dom Joly published what would become one of the first reflections of such travel in his book called The Dark Tourist (Gilbert 2018).
Between the 1980s and early 2000s, Colombia was notorious for drug trafficking and the cultivation of illegal drugs, primarily Cocaine. The Colombian drug traffickers were the primary suppliers of cocaine in many Unites States cities during the later half of the century and were the lead suppliers for the Miami “crack cocaine epidemic” that killed hundreds of Americans due to overdoses and thousands of Colombians and Americans alike in drug violence.
Conventional perceptions of Latin America’s organized criminal groups tend to emphasize the greed and violence produced by these groups when, in reality, their existence is much more nuanced than this. Although most associate the presence of criminal groups with heightened levels of violence or drug use, these groups usually do much more than this, often providing certain services and resources to local communities.
For more than half a century, Colombians have been caught in the midst of violence between “La Violencia”, guerilla groups, and drug lords. After one conflict ended, another began, and when there seemed to be a lull in the violence and a chance for peace, a presidential candidate would be assassinated, or a guerilla bomb would leave the country’s infrastructure devastated. In 2016, the Colombian Peace Deal between then-president Juan Manuel Santos and the (write out the acronym) FARC guerilla group seemed to be the first real sign that Colombia was emerging from its decades of violence.
The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) as they were originally called, have functioned as a Marxist-Leninist guerilla group founded in 1964, composed mainly of farmers and laborers whose goal was to fight the inequality and repression in Colombia. Mainly operating in rural areas, the FARC had an estimated 20,000 active fighters at the height of their power in the early 2000s. The FARC were a part of a dark period of Colombia’s history, when guerilla groups, paramilitaries, and drug lords provoked violence across the nation.
Earlier this month, Colombia held a historic parliamentary election, as it included candidates from the former militarized guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The success of the election and its results may be a projection of the upcoming presidential election at the end of May, as well as a hint to outside investors of the country’s ability to maintain a stable economic sphere.
For over 50 years, Colombia has been riddled with violence and corruption. To combat this corruption and a lack of representation, idealists form guerrilla groups fight for their beliefs and morals. The reasons for creating guerrilla groups vary, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), for example, were founded on socialist ideals.