|Anti-bullfighting protesters outside the plaza de toros yesterday hold up a sign saying 'Bullfighting: Reinforcer of a Culture of Violence.'|
I've been thinking about that because of the confluence of several recent events, which at first glance might not appear related.
|Tribal militancy? A Millonarios fan today celebrates |
the team's birthday today by waving a
banner with a skull and crossbones.
Despite the welcome drop in homicide, Colombia still has an unjustifiably high homicide rate: 33 per 100,000, which is six times higher than that of countries such as the Argentina and United States, more than triple the homicide rate in Bolivia and a mind-boggling 24 times higher than that of France and other European nations.
|Colombia's homicide rate soared in |
the '80s and '90s during the drug cartel wars.
(Source: Havana University)
|Aspiring bullfighters practice in Bogotá's Plaza de Toros.|
Inequality probably produces violence because it erodes social trust and the poor's confidence in being able to succeed thru legal pathways.
The War on Drugs and associated criminal and guerrilla violence also have a huge impact, as a glance at national homicide rates shows. The countries with sky-high homicide rates make a path from Colombia across much of the Caribbean and Central America across Mexico to the U.S. border. Inoffensive little Honduras, for example, suffers a homicide rate of 82.1 per 100,000, while Mexico, at 18.1 per 100,000 is just a bit above half of Colombia's, but still terribly high by world standards.
|Internatioal robbery rates correspond |
to greater wealth inequality.
(Source: United Nations)
Pinker believes that these sorts of violent cultural practices influence all of society, contributing to higher homicide rates. On this measure, Colombia falls in the middle - it has no death penalty, but does allow cockfighting and bullfighting.
And do Millonarios' rabid fans fit into this analysis? Those young guys look to me like armies, just carrying banners instead of guns. God forbid they collide with a group of Santa Fe fans.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours