21st Century Revolutions In Latin America

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Ever since the arrival of Columbus, Latin America has been the scene of many revolutionary struggles. After the battles against the newly arrived conquistadors, many must have thought that the struggle for independence in the 19th century would be the end of conflict in their nations. But in the 20th century, civil wars have been waged against the common enemies of the people: imperialism, rampant poverty and inequality. The people of the region have bled for change, sometimes for the better, but generally in a losing cause as displayed most profoundly in Central American nations such as Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, where hundreds of thousands lost their lives in search of a better way that escaped them in the end.

With the dawn of the 21st century, Latin America has yet to shed the burden of civil war, both existing struggles and those that are young. In the South American nation of Columbia, the civil war that originated in the 1950's has yet to be settled by peaceful means or by way of force.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) have been fighting the Federal Army since 1966. On January 1st, 1994, the day Mexico was to formally enter into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and hence the world economy, a guerrilla group calling themselves the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) rose up in arms and captured several cities and towns in the southern state of Chiapas. It was a stark reminder that Mexico in particular and the region in general were not as stable as analysts suggested and that armed struggle has yet to be abandoned as a vehicle for social change.

But while the FARC has been battling for 35 years without either overthrowing the government or making substantial strides towards their goals through...