Be honest. When you hear the word "Colombia", what do you think of?
I am under the impression that the number one image associated with Colombia is cocaine (or any word related to drug trafficking). Popular culture reinforces this association with movies like Blow (2001), starring Johnny Depp, Collateral Damage (2002), starring Arnold Schwartzenegger, Clear and Present Danger (1994), starring Harrison Ford, and Scarface (1983), starring Al Pacino. Guerrillas follow close behind, almost always directly implicated with drug trafficking.
What about the other armed actors involved? What about the demand for drugs in the US? What about the millions of IDPs?
Is this a reflection on the news coverage about Colombia, or is it the other way around?
As discussed in a previous post , news coverage on Colombia focuses largely on drug trafficking and guerrilla groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Can any discussion of Colombia in popular media or news media get outside of the framework of drugs?
Another interesting point to consider is how the Colombian government has responed to these negative images of Colombia. In 2005, the Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism created a task force called Colombia is Passion basically to act as PR for Colombia's tourism industry. They describe themselves as, "Colombia is Passion works hand in hand with local and international media to promote Colombia overseas by disseminating positive information and news about the country."
Below is a video created by Colombia is Passion: