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Conflict, crime, and violence in Colombia

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Vargas Duque, Juan Fernando
Caruso, Raul



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Even by Latin American standards, Colombia is a violent country. It is also an exceptional laboratory for researchers interested in crime, conflict and more generally, in violence. Violence in Colombia is not a recent phenomenon: The country experienced six major civil wars during the course of the 19th century. A period of relative calm followed the bloodiest of these confrontations: “The War of the Thousand Days,” that lasted literally 1000 days (1899–1902), and resulted in the deaths of a large fraction of the population. In the late 1940s after the assassination of a liberal presidential candidate, partisan grievances flourished and a new civil war (know as “La Violencia”) began. It was ended by a power-sharing deal between the liberals and the conservatives in the late 1950s. By most accounts, the current conflict began in the mid 1960s, when two guerrilla organizations – Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) – (both are still active today) were formed. The largest of them, FARC, emerged from communist guerrillas dissatisfied by the exclusion of the left from the power-sharing deal, and from the remnants of liberal guerrillas that did not laid down their arms when the deal was brokered.
Palabras clave
Violencia , Conflicto armado
Violence , Conflict
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