The armed conflict in Colombia officially began in 1964 between the Colombian government and the formation of two separate guerrilla groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) fighting each other to increase their influence in Colombian territory. The violence in Colombia however had started long before. After a number of civil wars between Colombian elites in the second half of the 19thCentury, the murder of the anti-establishment Liberal Party presidential candidate, Jorge Gaitan, in 1948 initiated a decade of violence which became known as la Violencia.
The Colombian armed conflict was a direct result of a deep rooted social and political conflict. In spite of huge natural wealth, a large number of Colombians live in poverty. This poverty is particularly concentrated in rural areas. Whilst 30% live below the poverty line in urban Colombia, this number rises to 65% in rural regions. Colombia is as a result one of the most unequal countries in the world.
Throughout Colombia’s history the opportunities for this social inequality to be addressed through the political system has been obstructed by systematic political violence. Opposition parties, progressive political movements, and community activists have been targeted in order to protect the political and economic status quo. Guerrilla organisations emerged in response to this situation and the armed conflict was therefore a direct result of an unanswered social and political conflict (JusticeforColombia.org).
The internal conflict arrived to a ceasefire deal in 2016. During the 1964-2016 period more than 15.000 girls and women suffered sexual violence from paramilitaries, leftist rebels and government troops. Sexual violence was widespread during the Colombian conflict, but amid massacres and mass kidnappings it tended to be ignored or met with impunity (The Guardian).
DW Documentary (2019). Colombia: The long road to peace after the civil war
Guatemalan Civil War 1960-1996
The internal conflict of Guatemala began in 1960 and lasted until 1996. During this period an estimated 200,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 women were victims of mass rape. Most were indigenous Maya civilians.
Resource: The Guardian
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