Colombia: 52 Years of Civil War

Colombia: 52 Years of Civil War

What Started Out as Containment Changed into War.
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On October 2nd, 2016 the Colombian government received the results to a special election concerning the conclusion of a 52 year old civil war. This election held only two options; Yes to peace between the Colombian Government or no peace whatsoever.

The vote results stated that 50.2 percent of the Colombian people stated that there should be no peace. The other 49.8 percent stated that there should be peace. The peace talks for the Colombian Civil War have been in the works since June 23rd, 2016 when both sides signed an official ceasefire.

Though the vote for a formal peace failed, the ceasefire is still in effect. The Colombian Civil War began as any traditional civil war would, between the people and the government. In 1948, the populist political leader, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was assassinated. This and the aftermath of U.S. backed anti-communist repression in rural Colombia in the 60’s led to liberal and communist militants to re-organize into the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People’s Army (FARC).

What began as a containment method for Communism during the Cold War era would evolve into something else. Whenever President Kennedy sent the Peace Corps to Colombia for education in healthcare, agriculture or construction. It transitioned from a really good idea into something dreadful.

Overtime the volunteers turned into narcotics instructors for the American Mafia and the Colombian drug traffickers. The most prominent drug produced was cocaine, and the buyers varied from the U.S. and the E.U. So what began as a means of containing communism in America’s Backyard, evolved into the War on Drugs.

Officially, the end of Communist Containment ended in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. With the Soviets out of the picture, Cuba, Colombia and other smaller communist nations. Without the financial backing of the Soviets, both they and the Cubans withdrew support for the FARC and other Guerrillas cause.

It should be noted that the paramilitary groups and guerrillas involved in the conflict have been reported to be involved with sex and drug trafficking. However, both sides have been criticized for several violations of human rights laws. This includes the usage of child soldiers in the ranks of the armed rebels and government. The total casualty rate is 220,000 dead. The comparison for civilian/fighter is 177,306 to 40,787.

That’s not including the five million people who have had to vacate their homes between the years 1985-2012. About 16.9% of the population has been a direct victim of the Colombian Civil War. As it stands, both sides are attempting to obtain peace through diplomacy. This is likely due to the fact that this war has been around for over five decades.

Everyone talks about the Middle East and the horrors there, but no one really looks towards Latin America. Granted, many hold a vendetta against the horrors the members of various extremist groups are doing in not just our nation, but others. Still, how can we obtain peace in a land that we have no business in, when we can’t even aid in obtaining peace in our own backyard?

Cover Image Credit: https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2011/11/09/23/pg-40-colombia-1-rex.jpg

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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The 2020 Race Is Feeling The Bern

Everything you need to know about Bernie Sanders entering the presidential race.

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This morning, February 19, 2019, Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders announced he is running for president once again.

Unlike his run in 2016, though, Sanders now joins a crowded field of progressive candidates, one of which is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

In Sanders's own words, this campaign is "about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life". Sanders went on to say that this is a "pivotal and dangerous moment in American history," and "We are running against a President who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction".

In his interview with CBS, Sanders explained that it is "absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated", and described candidates whom he is running alongside as his "friends".

Regarding policy issues, his focus remains the same as in previous years, planning to focus largely on women's reproductive rights, lower prices for prescription drugs, and criminal justice reform.

Sanders is also widely recognized because of his goal of universal healthcare. His Medicare-for-all bill that was drafted in 2017 outlines the establishment of a "national health insurance program to provide comprehensive protection against the costs of health-care and health-related services". According to estimates, however, such a plan would increase federal spending by $2.5 trillion a year.

When it comes to education, Sanders plans to make preschool for all 4-year-olds free, aiming to fund this plan through tax increases on the wealthy as well as Wall Street transactions.

More widely acknowledged is his "College For All Act", which would provide $47 billion a year to states in order to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. Additionally, the act would cut student loan interest rates nearly in half for undergrads.

In terms of social issues, Sanders is pro-choice when it comes to abortion rights and opposes policies which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, such as Trump's push to ban transgender people from the military.

The New York Times discusses the idea that the political field of the 2020 run might leave Sanders a "victim of his own success", in that the multitude of Democratic candidates are embracing policies which Sanders championed in the last race.

"Ironically, Bernie's agenda for working families will be the Democratic Party's message in 2020, but he may not be the one leading the parade," said talk show host Bill Press.

Moreover, victories by women, minorities, and first-time candidates in the 2018 midterm elections suggest that "fresh energy" is preferred by Democrats, which potentially poses a challenge for Sanders.

Conversely, though, Sanders is also starting off with certain advantages, such as a "massive lead among low-dollar donors that is roughly equivalent to the donor base of all the other Democratic hopefuls combined".

Donald Trump responded to Sanders's announcement by saying, "First of all I think he missed his time, but... I like Bernie. He sort of would agree on trade... the problem is he doesn't know what to do about it. But I wish Bernie well."

By and large, Sanders is another strong candidate, and it will be interesting to see if he can generate the same energy and support now that he did in 2016.

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