Most helpful positive review
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
part travelogue - part history - this is the new Colombia
on 24 August 2012
This is a very up to date account of life in Colombia. The author, a British writer, journalist and human rights activist decided to return to Colombia after years of absence, to see for himself if the reports of the renewal of the country were true. Part travelogue, part history, this account is full of anecdotes of the author's travels and the people he met. I found the book to be illuminating about the colonisation of Colombia by the Spanish, its liberation by Simon Bolivar, which I had no idea was assisted in large measure by the British, and the more recent descent into violence, civil war, and dependance on narco traffic.
It is clear from this book that, over the last 10 years or so, life in Colombia has been improving, safety is returning, and tourists are arriving; mainly backpackers there to enjoy sporting activities such as white water rafting and to see something of the greatest biological diversity on earth. Whilst life is much safer since the disbanding of the paramilitary groups, the hard push against the FARC, and the smashing of the large drug cartels it is clear that there is still some way to go before Colombia could be considered to be free of the legacy of the past, and to have fully established a democratic rule of law. it can, despite all the steps in the right direction, be a dangerous place to be.
However the signs are encouraging, and it is to be hoped that the Colombian people, who we are told are the 3rd happiest on earth, can put the past fully behind them and enjoy a safer, more prosperous and more equal future.
The author visits Bogota, and a number of smaller towns and villages, but not Cali, Medellin, or Cartagena; a longer more comprehensive review of life in Colombia, including those cities, would have been useful for a more comprehensive understanding of how the changes are effecting life across the whole country
However, this is still well worth reading if you have an interest in Colombia, or are considering visiting.