Posted on February 6, 2017 10:51 am
Categories: World

Comparing Colombia and Ireland: ‘It’s Worth Remembering the Good Friday Agreement has Acted as an Inspiration’ (E)

The Colombian war originated in the Cold War, as a struggle of right versus left and lacks the ethnic and religious conflict present in Ireland. It is also primarily rural conflict with the cities often unaffected, in stark contrast to the widespread violence in Belfast and Derry.


Some friends and coworkers at my school have asked me if the IRA had bases in the jungle like the FARC. It seems that many people are somewhat aware of the conflict, but frame it in terms of Colombia’s.

Others have trouble believing that a guerrilla army could exist in Europe, only being with the many left-wing movements that arose across Latin America due to rampant inequality and the struggles of the Cold War. Given the very different histories of Ireland and Colombia, I often find it quite difficult to explain the complexities of The Troubles to people here.

Nevertheless, both the government and FARC have identified the agreements and compromises that have made the Northern Irish peace process a success. While it will take many years before Colombia reaches a lasting peace – the smaller National Liberation Army has just begun peace talks while many right-wing paramilitary groups remain at large – this decades-long war is hopefully coming to an end.

At a time when the uncertainties of Brexit threaten the stability of Northern Ireland, it’s worth remembering how the Good Friday agreement has acted as an inspiration for other places seeking peace.