ok i think because yesterday’s topic was so short and quick, i’m going to elaborate…
in 1985, colombia was in the midst of an internal conflict that was 20 years strong. what the people don’t know is that it is actually going to get a lot worse over the coming decade before it gets any better. but in november of 1985, a leftist rebel group (m-19) stormed the Palace of Justice (which houses the Supreme Court) and took approximately 40 people hostage, including the Chief Justice and other magistrates. The exchange between the military and the rebels lasts an astounding 28 hours and ends with the building in flames, all of the M-19 rebels dead alongside the most prominent figures of Colombia’s judicial system. now 32 years later, there are a lot of unanswered questions and some deeply divided opinions on who was really to blame for the death and destruction that occurred. it’s what my professor would dub “a wicked problem.”
as i presented the subject to classmates, stringing together the social fabrics of the country to explain the chaos and fear that plagued the second half of the 20th century, i was surprisingly defensive about my country. i wanted everyone to understand that although there were some challenging and trying times for our society, colombia is a beautiful and RESILIENT country that has turned itself around in record-pace and is now a regional powerhouse in innovation, education, foreign investment and not to mention–the arts and sports!
i made sure to mention that during my presentation–lest someone leave with the wrong idea about the hottest tourist destination (at least among my social media friends who won’t stop bragging about their Colombia vacations.)
two weeks ago i attended a tech conference that focused on innovation in latin america and one of the panel presentations featured representatives from Medellin’s leadership to talk about the city that went from the murder capital of the world to a prime vacation destination in the span of 20 years. One of the presenters said:
Twenty years ago, Medellin was considered a failed state. It was talked about in international media the way we talk about Aleppo or Mosul nowadays. Three years ago, Medellin received the honor of being named the Most Innovative City in Latin America.
Sharing this painful moment in Colombian history has made me infinitely proud because of the progress we have made as a people in such a short time. it really is a quick turnaround time for a society that seemed on the brink of collapse. the legal, political and security systems were inefficient and riddled with corruption. nowadays, it is not perfect, but many afford a comfortable, peaceful and safe life in the country. what a history!
(i hope my passion was palpable enough to get me the A 😂🤓🙋🏽)