Opinion: Colombia

I’m not really allowed to give a complete opinion on Colombia since I only spent there few days, but I found the country interesting enough to write this lines.
SMILE. The best of Colombia are its people. Their will to live and enjoy, their eternal smile, their laughter, the way they welcome you… Above any city, monument or natural feature, Colombia is worth visiting for its people.
SAFE. As can be. Forget that idea of a dangerous country. Maybe it was dangerous in the past but not these days. On top of that (or maybe in order to achieve that) there’s police and militars everywhere. Actually not everywhere, but mostly in touristic places (you can walk up the Cerro de las Tres Cruces in Cali surrounded by police!!!) and specially in economically strategic places (oil routes and major transport routes take about 70% of security forces). There are problematic areas or neighbourhoods as in any other country, but no more than that.
CHEAP. Cities are a little bit more expensive but expect 2-3 euros/5000-7500 COP per (good) meal (or 1 euro/2500 COP for a basic one) and 5-6 euros per proper lodge 12000COP. That’d be in rural areas and/or smaller towns. Expect double in very big cities.
FARC. You won’t see them unless you go deep in the jungle. Sure, there might be some in more popular areas, but they’ll only act against goverment (whatever goverment). I found that lots of people used to act in the name of FARC but were nothing but common burglars, so don’t believe everything you read. FARC were necessary at a time when the country was in danger of being ruled by people seeking nothing but their own good. That risk still exists today (the goverment is selling all major resources to the USA!!), but is disguised by a high employment rate and a good health care system. Is FARC still necessary? I think there needs to be somebody who confront the goverment on those big decissions; but if in order to support those activities you to traffic with drugs (and that’s what FARC are doing mainly, and not even always to found “legitimate” activities), then they’re doing something very wrong.
POLITICS AND ECONOMICS. I found this to be very diverse, but with one very positive approach: the country participates. If the primary sector feels the goverment is giving advantages to imports instead of local food, they go on strike for a week; if indigenous communities feel their needs and requests are not being taken into account, the gather together, write down their needs and ask the president for an interview; if they take down your electricity and don’t fix it for a week, they break the oilducts until that problem is solved. Acting is something we have forgotten in other parts of the world. They’ve won making us believe that a vote every 4 years equals freedom.


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