POPULATION:
39,593,035

LITERACY RATE:
30%
SELF DEFENSE FORCES:
 Cartagena Free Army, South American Alliance Forces
LANGUAGES:
Spanish
ETHNIC GROUPS:
mestizo, white, mulatto, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian, Amerindian
BORDERING COUNTRIES:
Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Venzuela, Brazil
COLOMBIA - Cartels control everything, each covertly backed by Russian, European, or American intelligence agencies. The fighting is fierce and absolutely cuthroat. The official government barely exists, and is nothing more than a facade, doing everything it can not to get in the way of the cartels. Anytime someone does get into power who wants to do something to rid the corruption from his country he is quickly shut down, by threat, assassination, or kidnapping of relatives. Corporations have completely pulled out of the region, kidnappings for ransom by the various cartels made it all but impossible for anyone to operate there, though agri-corps and logging corporations are chomping at the bit to regain a foothold in the country. With the loss of corporate dollars, the area relies solely on the drug trade to survive. Columbia would have gone ahead and made the cultivation and sale of cocaine legal, but everytime they suggest it, the UN threatens full scale invasion. This means technically it is illegal, but no one in the government has the power to even arrest the lowest street dealer. Of course the UN threat is an empty one, since the nations with the most clout in the UN are the ones covertly backing the major cartels. Of course at home all these countries have their own "war on drugs" but they only target the cartels backed by rival countries, which means a lot of inconsequential busts and fighting along the cartels borders. The largest amount of fighting happens within the cartels themselves, backstabbing, assassination, and outright war among the members of any given cartel over leadership and territory. Tourists don't come to Columbia, no one comes to columbia except those in the drug trade or those looking to oppose it. There are small rebel groups who do fight the cartels, but have little to no effect. Columbia has been placed under UN embargo, which makes trafficking a bit more difficult. This means goods are usually smuggled through poorly maintained borders into the neighboring countries and shipped at port.

The prisons in Cartagena Columbia are some of the worst on the planet, guards on patrol do not carry anything more than clubs and radios, the only firearms the guards are allowed are the ones positioned in watchtowers who are issued high power rifles. The prisoners however are often armed with firearms and even grenades or other explosives.  The life expectancy of a prison warden in colubia is less than six months.  Of course the prisoners who are not affiliated with the drug cartels in these overcrowded chattels learn quickly to be as unnoticable as possible, and are usually forced to sleep outside in the yard, if they are lucky they may find shelter from the rain under a cardboard shelter, but they better be ready to fight for it, often to the death.  Outside Cartagena there is no need for prisons, as anyone caught going against the will of the cartel is usually executed immediately.

When the Medellin Drug cartel detonated the Nuke in Manhattan in 1993, (in response to the DEA's implementation of designer plagues in South America to eliminate the Coca plant, and the assassination of Medellin Cartel leader Pablo Escobar), it gave the Cartels the leverage needed ostensibly to overthrow the government.  The US, already deeply embroiled in war in the surrounding countries of Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras and El Salvador, was stretched far to thin to mount any type of effective response.  When the the world stock market Collapse hit a few months later in early 1994
, the US economy, already stretched paper thin by the war and the blast completely collapsed.  Troops were recalled and the country faced the worst military defeat in its history.  The cartels of Columbia and its neighbors seemed unstoppable.  And while the designer plagues did have a serious impact on the coca trade for a short period, within 2 years, with help from exiled (though some claim EEC funded) european botanists, a new far more resistant and potent strain was developed and the trade boomed.  This "synthcoke" became the backbone of the new drug industry of South America, and in Columbia itself, this one industry supports virtually everyone and everything.  Only a few major cities, Bogota, Cartagena, Narino, and Santa Marta were able to maintain a sense of order.  But when The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was reorganized and joined forces with the Medellin Cartel, ( which at this point had become heavily financed by European dealers), all pretext of order was lost.  The Government in all areas outside of Bogota and Cartagena simply collapsed.  The majority of soldiers of the Colombian Military forces simply jumped over to the Cartels side, the remaining forces just large enough to shakily hold and control the two cities. 

It was this coup that led the US, still seething with rage over the New York incident, to once again invade south america, with Columbia as its main target.  The columbians were well prepared, with arms and supplies from Russia and the EEC, both anxious to cause trouble for america as well as protect their own interests in the region.  By this time, the Colombian Cartels had already founded the South American Alliance, consisting of Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia.  The fighting lasted several furious and frustrating years, until in 2010 the US, once again bankrupt, conceded defeat.  Too broke to even fund the withdrawal, many US civilian contractors and the large nomad work force were simply abandoned to try and make it home themselves.  This event is commonly referred to as the infamous "Long Walk".  What is less well known, is that even some of the military personal, such as those manning remote locations and deep recon teams, were left behind as well, with orders to surrender.  Most of these groups were isolated and alone, a good 50 miles or more deeper
in enemy territory from the civilian and nomad contractors.   Over the estimated 650 military personell left behind, only 82 were able to catch up to the rest of the Long Walkers.

In the wake of the US retreat, the Cartels ran roughshod over the country.  But even such a complete victory could not keep the Cartels in Columbia united for long.  Disputes over who would run the country almost immediately broke out between the Medellin cartel backed covertly by EEC interests, and Cali cartels supplied by the Russians.  several other smaller cartels also split, though relegate themselves to the remote borders of the country.  FARC was dimantled and re-organized, splitting itself up amongst the cartels where soldiers false idealism gave way political loyalties and personal profit,  the remaining forces of FARC, made up of the most experienced and loyal soldiers, became the SAA's own elite special forces unit.  They are given the best equipment, the most funding, and have grown in the SAA to encompass the duties of a secret police and commando unit.

  Bogota, locked in the middle of the country finally fell in 2015.  The grandson of Pablo Escobar, Jorge Estevez, is now the head of the organization and is rumoured to claim the massive Cathedral in the heart of Bogota as his headquarters.  In responce, Salvatore Guaro, leader of the Cali Cartel takes over the magnificent and isolated Cathedral in Narino as his own personal stronghold.  Cartegna holds out as the last remaining city in Colombia with any hint of government and order, a precarious position it holds at all costs. 

In 2020 outside of Cartegena, you are either with a cartel, or you are for all intents and purposes a slave to them.  With the beginning of the Third South American conflict, The Cartels are once again unifying and with heavy backing from both EEC and Russian interests.  But hostility between the cartels threatens to overturn their hold on the country.  Only time will tell.

(Written by Deric "D" Bernier)