One-Hundred Years of Solitude or Solidarity? Colombia's Forgotten Revolution

Oliver Villar, Drew Cottle

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Why is Colombia simply a 'black hole' on the Latin American continent, if not the globe and the existing academic literature? A nation which for more than half a century has struggled against an authoritarian oligarchy, maybe the last in Latin America, but comparable only to the United States government backed military juntas of the 1960s-1980s? Gabriel Garcia Marquez's famous work 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' well described the enforced silence that has prevailed throughout Colombia's history. This paper examines a 'forgotten' war of liberation, a revolutionary war of the 21st century and the forces of US imperialism. It is a 'discontinuous' war of many wars traceable to the Wars of Independence against Spain. This war is waged by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ' People's Army (FARC-EP), Latin America's oldest and most powerful Marxist-Leninist rebel organisation. The goal of the FARC is to establish a revolutionary socialist state.The paper argues that despite the US global 'War on Terrorism' and the 'end of history' dominant paradigm, the Colombian struggle is unique as it cannot be compared to the revolutionary wars in Tsarist Russia, Republican China, or Cuba. The Colombian revolution must be understood in the context of the 21st century, a complex era without a socialist camp in existence or an international communist movement in its place. An era of 'revolutionary' elections and 'democratic' exile where movements like the FARC 'should not exist.' We conclude that the FARC's success highlights the fallacy of the imperial premise surrounding the revolutionary movement and all facets of Colombian political reality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-201
Number of pages35
JournalContracorriente: Journal on Social History and Literature in Latin America
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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