Cuban Missile Crisis: 5 ways leftist ideology lives on in Latin America

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the US and the Soviet Union were on the brink of nuclear war over the installation of Soviet missiles in Cuba.


Farc Video/Handout/Reuters
Timoleon Jimenez, rebel commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), is seen in this still image taken from video released on a web page on Sept. 3, 2012.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, emerged in 1964 as a peasant self-defense group that then adopted Marxism. The FARC once numbered 20,000 fighters, and is responsible for bombings in Bogota and other cities and high-level kidnappings, included of US citizens. The FARC is listed as a terrorist organization by the US, along with the National Liberation Army, or ELN, another Colombian revolutionary guerrilla organization that has operated for decades but is much smaller.

The group’s political origins in Marxism have been overshadowed over the decades by its dependence on the cocaine trade. The FARC’s ability to operate was weakened under former President Alvaro Uribe and the US-sponsored Plan Colombia, although the FARC still wields power in rural parts of the country. Starting in 2008, despite several blows to the organization, Colombia has seen a resurgence of violence that has intensified this year.  Now, as President Juan Manuel Santos sets out to seek a peace agreement with the rebels, a major turning point for Colombia could be on the horizon.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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