Having lived in Colombia for about eight months, my life motto now staunchly asserts, "Don't judge a country until you've been there yourself." If stereotypes dictated our geographical meditations, then the United States would be a fast-food nation catering to the gluttonous cravings of Daddy Warbucks-esque businessmen, and Colombia would be a coked-out war zone [...]
It’s no revelation that Colombia has a long, often violent relationship with drugs. The narrative snakes its way through Colombian history, obscuring even the most breathtaking sites and admirable historical moments beneath a seemingly unshakeable veil of corruption. Yet, every country dresses itself in moments of both glory and failure, and no nation can present an unblemished history – the United States’ tortured history of slavery is certainly no exception. What every country does deserve, however, is a clean slate. When I think back on my year in Colombia, the term “drugs” does not traipse across my tongue. It is neither my defining association nor my most ardent memory of a country to which I owe so much. And I hope that, through the following series of articles, it will cease to be yours as well – that, by peeling back the murky layers of Colombia’s drug-riddled past, by excavating the good along with the bad, we may shed light on a topic that has left Colombia in the dark long enough.