MADRID – Trapped since the 1960’s in a protracted armed conflict with the most unscrupulous militias imaginable, and hostage to drug lords who turned the country’s vast rural areas into fiefdoms of crime and untold atrocities, Colombia long projected to the world the image of a country addicted to violence. But no more.
The Colombian paradox is that violence and the drug economy coexisted with one of the oldest and most genuinely constitutional traditions in Latin America. Yet a long succession of presidents failed to solve the paradox. It was Alvaro Uribe’s exceptionally effective administration in 2002-2010 that finally made the difference.