Monday, January 31, 2011

Driving through Colombia

The natural beauty of Colombia is utterly beautiful. The clouds, the Andes, the jungle, waterfalls, rivers and the entire natural scenery are appallingly stunning. However, driving through Colombia it was apparent the presence of the military in the everyday lives of Colombians. There were tanks on the side of the highways and military check points.  As intimidating as it may seem to have the daily presence of the military, I didn’t feel intimidated or uncomfortable by their presence. Speaking with Colombians gave me the impression that they were accustomed to the presence of the military in their daily lives. In fact, they seemed to trust the military and the police. While years ago, the Colombian military and the police were characterized by their corruption, today there is little trace of that. Colombia has been taking great strides in eliminating corruption from the military and law enforcement. They have fired corrupt officers and made education a requirement for service. All officers have to at least get a university education. While it is impossible to say that there is absolutely no corruption in law enforcement or the military, Colombia has become a model for greatly decreasing corruption in the military and the law enforcement.

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