Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century

Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century 1 Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century Ivon Williams
History 1002
Professor Jaime H. Crozier Garcia
Hawaii Pacific University Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century2 Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century During the 20th and 21st century the Colombia experienced a group
of drastic changes that transformed the country politically, economically
and socially. Most of these changes were mark by violence between
revolutionary groups, guerrillas, drug traffickers, the people and the
In the early 1.900, Colombia was going through a difficult economic
time consequence of a previous civil war. In the same period, the country
suffered the separation of Panama, instigated by the economic interests of
the United States in the Panama’s Canal. The Canal provided an efficient
and continuous transit of more than 750 thousand boats between the
Atlantic and the Pacific. At the time, Colombia received, and indemnification
of twenty-five million dollars from the United States but the main mistake of
the Colombian government was to consider that the canal had to be given
at any price to the United States, even at the expense of territorial
The next thirty years mark a slow process of regional integration and
border delimitation. Colombia started to see some progress in the
infrastructure sector with the construction of roads, ports, and railways. The Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century3 coffee, tobacco, and bananas industries were also promoted. A
confrontation between workers from the plantations and the Colombian
Army in 1928, lead to the formation of the first union movements in the
country. Other industrial sectors such as gold, silver and oil production,
gained relevance thanks to foreign investments.
One of the most important personalities of the XX century in
Colombia was General Rafael Reyes, he made many positives changes in
the country’s political structure as well as the economic and financial
In 1,904 General Rafael Reyes won the presidential elections and
began to introduce a series of reforms that were taken with enthusiasm by
the people, to the point that it was proposed to extend his term from six to
ten years. The plan was not taken well by many leaders of both the
conservative and the liberal parties (the two political parties in Colombia at
the time) who united against him and forced him to leave the presidency in
General Rafael Reyes wanted to give Colombia a better future and to
promote the development of the country, he attempted to negotiate and
increment the trades with the United States, but the public’s resentment
over the loss of Panama and Panama’s Canal created an anti-American Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century4 attitude in the country and they simply didn’t want to make any deals with
the United States. During General Rafael Reyes term Colombia saw an
advance in the infrastructure sector due to the General’s support through
government financial aids for public investments, road construction and
railways. Political and economic relations with Venezuela were restored,
and the creation of the Central Bank helped stabilize the country’s currency
from the civil wars of the late 1800.
During the time of his presidency, the General signed the AverburyHolguín Treaty which paid off the external debt and fund the expansion of
the sugar and textile industry and provided support to refineries, food
companies, as well as banana, coffee and cotton farming. Colombia started
to export many of those products to different parts of the world bringing
some economic stability to the nation. Today, the country still shipping the
same products and have gained worldwide recognition for the quality of its
Another significant reform during General Reyes presidency was the
territorial order division of the country in 34 departments and chose Bogota
as the capital of Colombia. The president disarmed the civilian population,
and only the Department of State oversaw armament and ammunitions, he
established the code of human rights for minorities and organized the Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century5 National Army with the creation of the military careers of the armed forces
through the installation of military schools and academies.
As a consequence of the administration of Rafael Reyes, the biggest
and most important companies in the country today were created. General
Rafael Reyes left his presidential position a year before his constitutional
term expired, and five years before the expiration of the extension of 10
years (previously granted).
During the 1970s the phenomenon of drug trafficking increased,
Colombia experienced an unusual increment of dollars entering the
country. These illicit capitals were legalized thanks to the "Sinister Window"
of the Bank of the Republic during the government of Alfonso Lopez
Michelsen. These funds combined with other revenues derived from the
coffee boom made Colombia experience significant growth in its economy.
However, the dissatisfaction of the working class, which was directly
affected by the country’s inflation increased to such an extent that in
September 1977 deferent workers organizations carried out the country’s
largest national strike. Colombia went through a rough time of labor
dissatisfaction and problems of public order.
César Turbay Ayala (1978 – 1982) was elected the president in
September 1978 during his government he developed a series of Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century6 antiterrorism measures that focused on narco-terrorist, revolutionary
groups and cartels. However, it didn’t have the effectiveness expected,
and revolutionary groups such as M-19 carried out sophisticated operations
stealing close to five thousand weapons from a major military base in
Bogotá in the middle of the of the new year celebration of 1979, then latter
in February 1980 taking over the Dominican Republic Embassy. There was
an exponential increase in kidnappings from 44 cases in 1979 to 1,126 in
The drug cartels of Medellín and Cali started trafficking marijuana
first, but later diversified into the cocaine production. The United States
along with other European countries provided the Colombian government
with logistical and financial support to implement plans to combat drug
trafficking. The “Plan Colombia” was the program design to end the illegal
armed groups and cartels. Despite these programs, Colombia continued to
be the world leader in cocaine production with approximately 70% of global
distribution and 90% of processing between 1980 and 2000.
Ernesto Samper Pizano was elected president in 1994; his
government was involved in a corruption scandal were money coming from
the Cartel of Cali was involved in his presidential campaign causing the Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century7 cancellation of US military and economic aid with the termination of the
“Plan Colombia”.
The XXI century for Colombia represent a time of transition; drug
trafficking decreased after the government successfully ended the major
cartels and negotiations with armed groups started to have progress.
Diplomatic relations with the governments of Ecuador and Venezuela broke
due to the poor government management causing a deterioration of trades
between the countries.
Colombia is a great nation that counts with numerous natural
resources and a strategic geographic position. However, the government
corruption and the history of drug cartels and armed groups have created a
bad reputation of the country. Today, Colombia is safer place and have
countless visitors from around the world that experience the amazing
culture and many exotic destination places. Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century8 References
Modern History of Colombia – Colombia in the 20th Century. (n.d.). Retrieved from
History of Colombia – Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2017, from
Last Name, F. M. (Year). Article Title. Journal Title, Pages From – To.
Last Name, F. M. (Year). Book Title. City Name: Publisher Name. Colombia Through the XX and XXI Century9

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