The lofty snow-tipped peaks of the country’s interior cordilleras tower high above equatorial forests and savannas where surviving Indian groups still follow the lifeways and traditions of their ancestors.In the cooler mountains, at intermediate elevations, modern cities are juxtaposed with traditional rural landscapes where mestizo farmers cultivate their small plots of coffee, corn (maize), and other crops.
However, they, one of the minorities who have most suffered from the war, seem to be one of the least traumatized by it.
In some cases, their survival strategies make use of our guilty conscience or romanticizing of the Noble Savage; in others, the militancy of a new generation of well-educated and worldly indigenous leaders.
In the case of second, suspended verdict, since until there is a viable alternative (which would take a century, I’d guess), the many whowould starve without the use of agro-chemicals should be as much of a concern as their undoubted threat to the health and environment of mankind.
As soon as I consider the factors which hinder “progress” in Colombia, I find myself leaping right over them to the global ones that will probably determine what’s called its quality of life in the future.
It is often referred to as the most Roman Catholic of the South American countries, and most of its people are proud of the relative purity of their Spanish language.
Its population is heavily mestizo (of mixed European and Indian descent) with substantial minorities of European and African ancestry.
But not to the point where I ignore that they mean little to millions who are displaced, unemployed or margined or, to quote another clipping, “there is no longer a Pablo Escobar confronting us with bombs…but there are many little Pablos encrusted in the State and society.”If I were nevertheless asked to explain how Colombia advances despite corruption, impunity, the murder of civic leaders and other familiar plagues, yet remains more or less the same, I would answer “sorry, wrong terms.”To illustrate what I mean, you can now find several internet cafés in the kind of remote rural towns which didn’t even have a functioning service of electricity or telephones when I first came here, no more than the agro-chemical dispensaries which outnumber the former by at least three to one nowadays.“Progress,” but of what kind?
In the case of the first, yes, given the obscurantism which once led the curates of such villages to label women who wore trousers as harlots (like the German ones interned in Fusagasuga during WWII), yet less so, when I see that they are mostly used by school kids in order to chat with virtual sweethearts or copy and paste homework assignments (with the complaisance of their teachers).
For the pessimist, that having met the preconditions – the accumulation of wealth by a few and its hold on the State, legal economy and public opinion– their rackets will easily adapt themselves to the odorless, risk-free and sanctified ones of global capitalism.
Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.