Colombia

Alejandra Paiz (Partido Unionista, Guatemala) and Dimas Sampayo (Partido Conservador, Colombia) during a youth conference in El Salvador hosted by the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation

Population: 46.736 million
Area: 1 138 914 km2
GDP (PPP): 665 billion dollar (2015 estimate)
GDP per capita (PPP): 14 000 $ (2015 estimate)
Rate of growth: 1,04 % (2015 estimate)
Head of state and head of government: Juan Manuel Santos Calderon

Colombia emerged as one of three states after the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830. The other two were Ecuador and Venezuela. For the last 40 years, the strife-ridden country has been in a state reminiscent of civil war as paramilitary guerillas fight for control. The proceeds from the narcotics traffic help fund the conflict. The guerilla and the paramilitary groups lack public support and their attempts at overthrowing the government have so far been unsuccessful. However, the conflict has claimed thousands of lives and plunged Colombian society into chaos. Peace talks with the FARC-guerilla broke down in Febuary of 2002 and an escalation of the conflict ensued. Human rights have been severely violated as a result of the conflict.

In 2002, a pledge to crack down on the guerillas and reinforce the military and the police was released. During the previous year, the FARC-guerilla suffered a number of set-backs which enabled the government to make headway in its fight against the guerilla. Nevertheless, FARC will undoubtedly continue to influence Colombian politics in the forseeable future. Other minor guerilla groups have been disarmed.

In May 2008, the Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (Unasur) was founded. It is a union of the South American nations modelled on the EU. The union already has twelve member states, though its function is, as of yet, mostly symbolic. In Latin America, a number of centre-right parties cooperate together in the Unión de Partidos Latinoamericanos (UPLA), a regional member of the International Democrat Union (IDU).

In June 2014, Juan Manuel Santos Calderon from the socialist Partido de la U was re-elected to the presidency with 51 percent of the votes. However, a recent political reform has now eliminated presidential re-election as from the next election in May 2018.

The Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation cooperates with Partido Conservador Colombiano (PCC).

It is a stated goal of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation to educate female and youth decision-makers. Since 2012, a number of conferences on the theme “Empoderamiento de Mujeres” took place with participants from different Latin American countries. Concurrently with these conferences, youth conferences were arranged on the theme “Principles for a Free Society”.

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