The Politics of Colombia

The Politics of Colombia

The Politics of Colombia

The Politics of Colombia


As the relationship between the United States and Latin America becomes an important focus of world attention, The Politics of Colombia is a welcome study of this South American country. A comprehensive analysis of the international influences on Colombian politics, as well as of the country's policymaking processes, this book will introduce the reader to one of the more important, yet least known, countries of the hemisphere.


Colombia is not easily understood. It is typically Latin American in its mixture of Spanish and indigenous peoples, and in its economy based mostly on tropical agriculture, especially coffee and the coca leaf. Distinctly different from its neighbors--Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru--which it physically resembles, it is a country of contradictions, like the contrast of its steaming jungles and snowy volcanoes. Of all South American nations, Colombia has seen the most violence, yet it has had the least militaristic government, and it is the only country of South America governed today by the same parties as a century ago. Its society is among the most unequal in Latin America-- that is, among the least democratic--but it has the best record of a democratic, or at least constitutional, government in South America. It has an outstanding literary and cultural tradition, despite a national university that is virtually nonfunctional because of political disorder.

Few truly understand this paradoxical country, but Professor Robert Dix certainly comes close. In 1967 he wrote Colombia: The Political Dimensions of Change, which was widely regarded as the best treatment of Colombian politics of the 1960s. He has now revised and deepened his analysis.

Because Colombia has been relatively neglected by scholars, this work fills a considerable gap. In his thorough and thoughtful treatment one sees behind the stereotypes of drug dealing and guerrilla terrorism to perceive the complexities of a remarkable nation, important to both the United States and the destiny of Latin America.

Robert Wesson . . .

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