Saturday, December 16, 2006

Partition Colombia

Colombia is living through the oldest violent conflict in the Americas. Over four decades of fighting and ideological struggle; a confrontation between legitimacy and force, spiced up by drug trafficking money. Will it ever stop? To answer this, one must ask several questions to understand the dimensions of the conflict.

Who is profitting from the conflict? It could be that foreign countries are finding in the Colombian government a good customer for weaponry and warfare. So, as long as there's conflict, there's arms trade, which fills up the pockets of warfare industries. This is true for every single violent conflict around the world.

What are the different parties involved? This is not a traditional bipartisan conflict. There are several groups that have legitimate claims in the conflict: the Guerrilla, the Paramilitaries, the Government, the Civil Society, the Government, the Colombians in exile, the drug dealers, etc. Conflict analysis requires a thorough research about all the possible parties of a conflict to include them all in the transformation process.

What are the interests at stake? What does the Government want? Perhaps it is more short-term to opt for political power instead of peace, which doesn't seem so real at present. What does the Guerilla want? Land? Resources? Political power? Peace? War? Money? And so on with all other parties involved.

Where do the parties come from, historically speaking? Meaning, what are the sociological and political origins of the groups involved?

Where do the parties see themselves in the future, say, 40 years down the road, one generation after this one? Do they see themselves still coexisting violently with each other, or do they see themselves in peaceful coexistence with their present adversaries? Perhaps they see themselves with more political autonomy or right to self-determination over a determined territory of what today we know as Colombia?

What is the economic cost for all parties involved to remain in the conflict? How many people die every year? How many resources are spent every year in sustaining the confrontation? How many wealth is not being generated because of lack of opportunity or synergy among the inhabitants of the country? Identifying this cost could make Colombians aware of the enormous expenses that are directed towards the conflict from all sides.

The disection of a conflict most of the times allows to deconstruct its elements, revealing where the true contention lies. In doing so, we might discover, in a case like Colombia, that the answer won't be found in the present paradigm of Colombia as the territorial unit we know, but in a different reality of a Colombian territory separated into two or more different sovereign states, the same way as Pakistan partitioned from India, or Slovakia and Czech Republic separated.