Colombian President’s Approach May Help Ease Land Conflicts

A recent Poverty Matters post highlights some of the differences that mark the Santos regime in Colombia from that of his predecessor Alvaro Uribe. In some ways the two leaders share a vision for their country. The post puts it this way, both want to “attract foreign skills and investment to expand natural resource exports to pay for social investments.” But, author Jonathan Glennie points out that what distinguishes Santos is his decency and his willingness to embrace modernization. These can be difficult qualities for politicians who often respond to pressures from local interests to protect local (and perhaps less modern) production. Decency may mean giving way when those with less power and prestige face challenges to their homes and safety. In the latter case, the blog notes that the Santos government did not fight back when indigenous Nasa people expelled government troops who were battling FARC rebels from their lands. Property rights remain insecure and highly contested in Colombia but avoiding further fighting may be a sign of some small progress. Here is a photo essay.


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