Colombia: A Contemporary Political Survey

Colombia: A Contemporary Political Survey

Colombia: A Contemporary Political Survey

Colombia: A Contemporary Political Survey

Excerpt

A series of recent developments have shaken the United States' complacent attitude toward Latin America, resulting in renewed concern with hemispheric affairs. This awareness of Latin America has been compounded by the recent election of a North American administration which has promised high priority to Latin American affairs. At the same time, the complexities of the Cuban situation have tended, to obscure important events in less turbulent republics. As a consequence, North America remains comparatively ignorant of the extraordinary political experiment initiated in Colombia following the 1957 overthrow of an oppressive dictatorship.

At this writing, in the spring of 1961, Colombia is operating under an arrangement whereby the two traditional parties have agreed upon absolute parity of representation from national to local level. The presidency itself is to be occupied alternatively by Liberal and Conservative nominees until 1974. The outcome of the experiment remains in doubt, yet one must note the unique attempt to adapt Colombian institutions to the realities and necessities of twentieth-century life.

Responsible Latin American leadership, confronted with urgent social and economic problems which have deeply stirred the masses, is searching for approaches less extreme than those urged by demagogues of the far Left. In Colombia the present effort is hopeful of breaking the shackles of oligarchical elitist rule. Despite unique aspects of the . . .

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