Colombia is no longer the happiest
Latin America is above Costa Rica, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. This is a very different picture than the one that appears in other researches, in which Colombia has come to dot, or to occupy a second place. One of them, the survey of the WIN global association, carried out by the National Consultancy Center, gave Colombia the second runner-up, with a happiness rate of 87 percent, behind Fiji. Obtained the first place.
Each time these results appear, a debate about their scope and meaning is opened. But this time the fall is the most striking.
In the midst of a critical political situation due to polarization, the erosion of institutions and corruption scandals, it is inevitable to conclude that Colombians are affected by a negative state of mind.
While negativism is widespread, many statistics on citizens' living conditions have improved. Those of violence, which have caused so much suffering to Colombia, improve substantially. The homicide rate has declined by nearly two-thirds in the past 15 years. In the previous 12 months the number of homicides is the same as in 1974. Something similar happens with all activities related to the internal conflict. Since the FARC decreed a unilateral cease-fire, consolidated with the bilateral and definitive, kidnapping, extortion, and population seizures have collapsed. The current picture, from every point of view, is better than that of 1990 when three presidential candidates were killed in the election campaign. Or that of the guerrilla offensive with kidnapping, or that of paramilitary terror. The end of the big drug cartels, the demobilization of the self-defense groups and the agreement with the FARC have produced concrete results.
There are also changes in the social situation. Poverty has dropped from 49 to 28 percent in this century. Primary education today reaches 92 percent and health coverage at 95 percent. The roads and roads have doubled since 2009, in terms of kilometers built. Life expectancy at birth rose ten years and now reaches 74. Inflation, which reached levels higher than 25 percent, is worrisome today when it approaches 7. Tourism is skyrocketing and Colombia today is an increasingly important destination in the world.
Of course, these indicators, like many others, only show a part of reality and would not yield positive results. Aqueducts and sewers are lacking in too many municipalities, and advances in education, health and poverty still show many pending tasks. The deep divide between urban and rural countries, the capture of the state by local political mafias, and the enormous corruption that has affected the political system are not a minor problem. But most Colombians, who in polls reflect a depressed mood and a deep crisis, would probably be surprised by a list of the country's progress in 15 years.
The radicalization of relations between the government and the opposition is so strong that it prefers sympathy for political leaders to any appreciation of the country's progress. Not to mention scandals like the Odebrecht scandal that outrage people, or the rage that pokes like gunpowder in social networks.
Daily life insecurity is now the new concern for Colombians, and to be honest all these change are perceived differently depending on the region. For example, big cities like Bogotá did not perceived change with the peace deal process due to the real presence into the conflict.
This is not the worst moment for Colombia even with these results. Perspectives have changed. The country need to keep moving forward but the numbers of the report can be explained through the transformation of concerns the Colombian population had back then and right now.