Election Uncertainy: From Bogota to Norman

Healing, history and concerns for the future, from a Colombian perspective

(Left to right) Andres Perilla, Mileena Zafra and Julia Riffle, members of the Colombian Student Association at the University of Oklahoma. JORGE KRZYZANIAK

BY JORGE KRZYZANIAK | THE NEW TERRITORY ISSUE 03

Colombia is not what you have seen on “Narcos.” For the moment, it’s difficult to define what Columbia is exactly. It is misunderstood. And It is changing.

Colombian students here in the United States have said that Colombia is not the nation of drug lords, corruption and terrorists as it exists within prevailing perceptions of the country. But a violent history, pocked with such things, has left its wounds.

These students have said that Colombia’s healing is going to take continued support in the working relationship the nation has with the United States. But what might foreign policy look like towards Colombia with Donald Trump in America’s Whitehouse? The outlook is uncertain as Colombia grasps for a precarious lasting peace.

The violence of Colombia’s past, haunts its people even as they lead new lives here in Oklahoma.

Yoana Samper de Walschap, adviser to the University of OKlahoma’s Colombian Student Association, COLSA, grew up in Bogota — Colombia’s capital. Because of the violence, she chose to leave 30 years ago and violence there has kept her from returning home for any extended period since.

COLSA’s president, Andres Perilla, moved to the United States when he was seven, when his family sought their reprieve from the violence and a failing economy.

Julia Riffle, a COLSA member studying economics and international security said, when she was young, she feared being kidnapped if she were to speak English inside a taxi in Colombia.

“My mom had her friends kidnapped for a year, held for ransom,” Riffle said.


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ISSUE 03 MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY OUR SPONSOR

Issue 03 Sponsor: True/False Film Fest

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