I was fortunate to spend three months in Colombia in 2002, and I fell in love with the country. Colombians are a wonderful, beautiful, educated, and caring people, whose only real impediment to happiness seems to be the endless 40-year civil war between the government and the rebels, paramilitary groups, and drug cartels.
The UN estimates that there are currently over three million displaced people from this war. Most of these refugees move to larger cities in search of safety, but the men can rarely find work other than as street vendors, resulting in many women and children resorting to prostitution to supplement the family income. In addition, UNICEF recently listed Colombia as the South American country most dangerous for children, due to the prevalence of landmines. Uncontrolled American and European demand for cocaine is exacerbating the problem by creating the revenue with which to arm the rebel and paramilitary forces. The Colombian people deserve our help.