Colombia is well known for its coffee, flowers, emeralds, oil and carbon production and also for being the second richest country in terms of biodiversity in the world. However it has also experienced prolonged social and political turbulence over the course of the last few decades, with various problems with drug-trafficking and paramilitary insurgencies, which have given Colombia a reputation as a dangerous country to live in. The FARC, Colombia's largest leftist guerrilla group, still have a significant role in the country and continue to initiate violent actions against the population. Beyond Bogotá, a book written by journalist Garry Leech analyses the situation in more depth; Leech states that ‘more than $5 billion in U.S. aid over the past seven years has failed to end Colombia's civil conflict or reduce cocaine production’, and that ‘more than thirty Colombian journalists have been murdered over the last three decades, making Colombia one of the most dangerous countries in which to practice journalism’.
In spite of this situation, Colombia has a rich cultural life, the most representative figure of which is the Nobel Laureate writer, Gabriel García Márquez. Novels such as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Chronicle of a Death Foretold have been widely acclaimed and were central to the development of the Magical Realism style in literature. Another of Marquez’s most recognized novels, Love in the Time of Cholera, was made into a film. William Ospina is another celebrated Colombian novelist, and is recognized for his engagement with post-colonial themes. Rafael Pombo, who has been named the National Poet of Colombia, became popular in his country for his children’s’ tales, which had a huge influence on the youth of many Colombians. Many film directors had shown interest in Colombia’s unstable situation. TheTwo Escobars, for example,is a film which depicts the highly lucrative but extremely dangerous world of the drug trade in Colombia. My Father Pablo Escobar also portrays this world, focusing on the notorious head of the Medellin drug cartel. Maria Full of Grace is a critically acclaimed film that focuses on drug trafficking from Colombia to America.
Colombia has also produced world renowned artists of international fame such as Fernando Botero, who creates extremely corpulent figures and sculptures recognizable at first sight. Omar Rayo, whose style consists in painting concrete objects with geometrical figures, and who is heavily influenced by the culture of the indigenous people of Colombia. In 1981, he established the ‘Museo Rayo de Dibujo y Grabado Latino americano’ in Roldanillo. Alejandro Obregón’s paintings have also an important role in the Colombian art scene. His paintings have a strong political and social criticism which creates profound allegories for the conflict within Colombia.