Top Tips for Buying Jeans You Love

The shopping process is sometimes more than you can bear! Outside of bathing suits, shopping for jeans is the thing women like to shop for the least.

To be honest, I have put off writing this article because the task of finding the perfect pair of jeans is often daunting and rarely simple. If, however, you can reduce the variables involved in selecting what to try on, you can streamline the shopping process and immediately eliminate some possibilities.

I realize that while I cannot guarantee you will only have to try on one or two (or three or four) pairs of jeans before finding ones you love, I can at least give you hope that you can find them and give you some guidelines to make the journey more pleasurable and productive.

Your chance of leaving the store with success increases when you know where to start.

Let me begin by sharing some basic helpful tips for buying jeans:

When in doubt choose a mid-rise jean. It will come to just below the belly button. It reduces the chances of muffin-top and doesn’t feel like you are wearing mom jeans (although rumor has it the dreaded mom jeans are coming back into style!). Also, from someone who cannot stand anything tight around her waist, the mid-rise is perfect because it doesn’t squish my stomach. This does not mean you can’t wear a high- or low-rise jean, it just means this is a good starting point with the greatest chances for success.

That said, like all women’s clothing, the definition mid-rise is not standardized. I’ve seen it described as anywhere from 8″ to 10″-go figure! Your best bet is to narrow it down to what they say is mid-rise and then look for other features before you try them on. And, once you find a brand or two that you like you will get more consistency.

Of course, if you adore low rise or won’t wear anything but high-rise then you already know what you like so go for it.

Stay away from any obvious whiskering at the front pocket or crotch area unless you want attention drawn to your hips and thighs. If not, choose a pair of jeans that has a more consistent wash. The same is true for distressed or fading along your thighs. If you have a straight figure, this feature is good because it draws attention to that part of your thighs and adds curves. Otherwise, skip it.

Curvy women: Do not tuck your top into low-rise jeans unless the top is very fitted. Otherwise you will look like a shapeless box-even with the popular trend of tucking in just at the middle of your waist. You will do better in a mid- or high-rise jean anyway because it follows your curves.

A saturated dark wash is more slimming and less fussy or distracting and can be worn more places because it looks dressier.

The length of your jeans is critical to a flattering, balanced look. When you are wearing a bootcut, flair, trouser-style or slightly wider straight leg jean, the length needs to be super long. Generally touching the top of your shoe and about ½” to no more than 1″ off the floor in the back or as long as you can get it without it breaking significantly (unless you have really long legs) on the top of your foot. The wider the hem the longer the length should be. This elongates your leg line.

If the jean has stretch (which most do) go down a size (yes, they will be extra tight) or you run the risk of having them feel too baggy and oversized after just a few wearings. The tightness will go away relatively quickly and they will fit perfectly. In the meantime, denim has enough body to it that you don’t have to feel exposed or self-conscious that you are revealing too much.

A skinny jean should come at or preferably below your ankle bone. The tighter it is to your leg the shorter it can be. Otherwise, your legs will look extra short and it throws off the balance of your body. Of course, if you are tall with super long legs then this is less of an issue.

If you are curvy look for jeans with a contoured waistband. This is very important for women who usually find that they buy jeans to fit their hips or thighs and the jeans gap at the waist. The contoured band is curved (like your body) and is higher in the back.

Jeans can be tailored! If they gap a little at the waist or the length is too long, take them to a tailor (make sure they match the original stitching). The money is well worth it to have them fit perfectly (you are more likely to enjoy them and wear them longer that way) and you do not have to waste any more time shopping!

Bootcut? Straight? Skinny? Trousers? Pull-On?

Knowing what leg style to wear can feel oh so overwhelming. Skinny jeans are still incredibly popular and while the bootcut style is making a comeback (not that they ever really went away for anyone on whom they look good), skinny jeans are still everywhere. A straight leg cut is classic and right now a slim flare is gaining popularity.

What’s a girl to do?

It is a toss up as to whether the straight leg or bootcut style is more universally flattering. If you carry a little weight in your hips or thighs a bootcut balances the curves. As long as the bootcut is not extreme this style can look good on nearly everyone. Of course, a straight leg style is classic and creates a long lean line. These days the straight style is slimmer than it used to be so even classic styles change with the times!

The skinny jean is much more flattering than you would think. It’s all about the cut, the length and how you style it. If you are not sure it’s for you, try these tips before dismissing the style altogether:

#1: Wear a top that covers your butt and/or the widest part of your body.
Buy a dark wash. It will feel more slimming.
Choose a mid-rise so you don’t have to worry about continually pulling them up, reduce the chance of muffin top or, if you have a tummy, adding extra width right at the waistline.
Make sure they are long enough – slightly below your ankle bone is great. Otherwise your legs look shorter and your hips will look wider.
Whenever possible, wear them with a heel or wedge shoe and make sure the vamp of the shoe is low.

If you can wear trouser pants, you can wear trouser style jeans. They are particularly good for someone with fuller hips or thighs. They generally have a wider waistband and more subtle stitching than typical jeans. Sometimes they have angle pockets. If they do and the pockets gap have then removed them and have them sewn shut.

Trouser style jeans create a continuous straight line from the hips to the floor rather than going in dramatically at the knees as other jeans do which makes your hips look wider relative to the lower part of your leg. They also add elegance to the look of denim. Because they are fuller looking good in them is all in the styling:

Wear a shorter top or structured jacket with them or you will run the risk of being overwhelmed by fabric and looking bigger than you are.
Wear them with a heel or wedge to add extra length to your legline.
Wear them very long – about ½” off the ground in the back.

Pull-on jeans have style these days. They are not the old elasticized waistbands that made you cringe. They serve a very useful purpose (besides being unbelievably comfortable). If you have ever put on your favorite jeans with a fitted top and everything looks great except the tab of the button sticks out, you know what I am talking about. Jeans with a flat front take care of that problem and that’s what pull-on jeans are.

The Flap Over Back Pockets

There are so many different back pocket details for jeans it is hard to know what to choose. They come with flaps or not, embellishment, buttons, contrast stitching and varying degrees of bling! Or, even no pockets at all. In addition to the style of pockets, paying attention to the size and placement are additional elements that are key to finding a pair that is flattering. Where do you begin?

I cannot cover every imaginable combination so let me share the most important.

Smaller pockets will make your butt look bigger-which is good if that is what you want to happen.

If you have a full butt, choose pockets (no flap) that sit slightly wider and lower on your behind. And, unless you want to draw attention there (which is fine if you do), avoid contrast stitching or excess embellishment on the pockets.

If you have a flatter rear, avoid pockets that sit lower than the bottom curve of your butt. They will make your butt look droopy. (And that definitely goes for boyfriend jeans that by design have a somewhat droopy appearance.) You can also find jeans that will enhance your butt with padding.

If your backside is somewhat wider choose mid-sized pockets placed in the center to draw the eye inward.

As you can see, the style of pockets and pocket placement plays a roll in balancing your body. Never choose jeans without back pockets unless they are a legging jean and you plan to wear a longer top to cover your bum. Without back pockets your derriere looks bigger and it is too easy to see your pantyline.

Price Point

The price point for jeans is all over the place.

If you do not mind the treasure hunt, then searching thrift stores (which is also a very eco-friendly way to shop for jeans) and off-price stores like Nordstrom Rack can reap you great benefits.

The key is to find a pair of jeans you love at a price that feels comfortable to you.

Yes, Tailor Them

Jeans are like any other item in your wardrobe-they need to fit you perfectly. If they don’t and you do not plan to tailor them, do not buy them. Whether they require shortening or need to be pinched in at the waist, the benefits will outweigh the cost when you wear them constantly because they feel and look so good!

How to Care for Your Jeans

Never over wash jeans or they will stretch out and be unwearable before you know it. Wash inside out in cold water and line dry. No dryer! The heat destroys the stretch. That’s it. Once they do finally stretch out from wearing them so much you can put them in the dryer to temporarily shrink them back, but if you do that in the beginning you will dramatically shorten their lifespan.

What to Do Next:

I know this is a lot of information. Before you sigh and give up, go back through the article and circle the tips that apply to you.

Then, make a list. Maybe it will look something like this:

Bootcut and maybe try a skinny jean
Wider back pockets (not too low)
Brands: Levi’s and Liverpool

That gives you a jumping off point. Whether you go to the store or peruse one of the online stores with free shipping and free returns, you can start shopping. The good news is that once you find a brand or two that you like your next jean shopping experience will be easier.

Ginger Burr believes that your image represents the best of you, not some ideal that makes designers happy. As an expert personal image consultant working with women from all walks of life, she has crafted a remarkable process of nurturing your inner beauty and discovering your personal style. Whether it’s the “dynasty” shoulder pad era, the never-ending confusion of business casual, or the low-rise pant controversy, she has helped women navigate through (and sometimes completely ignore!) the styles of the season and feel good about how they look.

A notable speaker and leader in the field of fashion and style, Ginger’s adroit understanding of beauty trends and fashion has been celebrated by Fox TV News, The Boston Globe, and In addition, Ginger recently launched her body image, self-esteem, and style virtual coaching program “Who Taught You How to Dress?” This innovative program allows women to overcome internal obstacles and learn the practical (as well as soft) skills they need to create a wardrobe they love — all in the comfort of their own home!

Ginger has distinguished herself in several untapped niches, including her image work with the transgender community and was recently recognized by VegNews Magazine as one of the “25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians” in the world for her innovative and groundbreaking work as a vegan image consultant.

How to Choose Jeans

Jeans of the same size cut and color can fit one and the same woman differently, because there are just no two equal pairs of jeans. Besides, one should never forget that after you’ve been wearing jeans for some time they become larger, that is why you should probably buy jeans a bit smaller in size.

When choosing your jeans remember they should not be too baggy or fit too close on the parts of your body you don’t want to attract additional attention to. Orient yourself on the size of jeans, it is usually represented by a fraction of two numbers, the first one indicates waist size, the second one – length.

Bear in mind that each customized denim manufacturer is oriented on its own customers. That is why jeans manufactured by Rifle, Hugo Boss and Klaus Montana brands will be ideal for those who prefer classical models, Versace jeans are made for those who can boast having long slim legs, and Lee Chicago and Mustang Exotic-Erotic denim creations are worn by those who want to look sexy.

The length of jeans is written in inches between 28 and 38. 28-inched jeans will fit a person with a height of approximately 157 centimeters. 36-inched jeans are meant for those who have a height of 190 centimeters. Today it is fashionable to wear jeans having a boot-cut. And please don’t buy jeans that are too long for you intending to shorten them sometime. If you cut your jeans, proportions are disturbed, denim is ruined and the whole esthetics is violated. So don’t do it. In extremis you can always turn up the ends of your jeans.

You can check the stability of denim color using a match trick. Take a match, soak it in water and then put it through denim. If the match gets color, your jeans will dye while you are wearing them. However, colored match doesn’t necessarily mean low quality of denim. High quality overdyed jeans can lose color as well. But this effect disappears after the first wash.

Jeans can help you to conceal imperfections of your figure and accentuate its advantages. Model range of fashionable jeans is so diverse that you can definitely find a pair that will be ideal for you. In order not to attract additional attention to disadvantages of your figure you should know general rules of jeans choice. Here are some tips that might be helpful to you.

Well-rounded thighs should not be covered by too close fit jeans. That is why stretch jeans are definitely not for you to wear. Banana jeans would probably be an ideal variant for your figure type. They are loose in the upper part and are becoming tighter at the bottom. Those who have voluptuous buttocks have to lift them and balance the proportions by wearing hipsters.

High women should prefer to wear extra long tailor made jeans with low waist. Trouser legs can be straight, turn or twisted. Banana jeans and jeans with a relaxed fit will suit such women as well. Light colors are recommended. However, be careful with skinny jeans and shortcut denim models. Orient yourself on the height size specified on the jeans label.

Women who are short of stature should wear jeans models which visually lengthen the legs. That is why straight cut models are recommended as well as high-waisted jeans. The general rule is figure fitting form of jeans, avoid wearing jeans with turned trouser legs and stretch jeans models, for they accentuate your height. Skinny, too long and baggy models are probably also a bad choice for you. Avoid wearing light colors; dark-blue models will suit you much better. If you want to by worn jeans, prefer those models where worn elements are not very evident and are situated right in the middle – this effect makes legs visually longer. And don’t forget about high heels!

Those who have tight thighs and flat buttocks should wear hipsters – low or high-waisted. Light-colored models are recommended. They would not attract additional attention to buttocks and thighs but visually make them more voluptuous. Stretch jeans models with a stitching in a heart form situated on the buttocks will visually make them more voluptuous and lift them a bit. Another good variant is jeans model without back pockets and with a lacing in the front. Skinny jeans covering ankles or ruffled at the bottom will visually make your thighs well-formed.

Those who don’t have a strongly marked waist should choose relaxed cut jeans models with straight trouser legs. Such jeans will visually make your waist look slimmer. The best way for you is to buy jeans several times bigger in size, because small-sized jeans could be too tight for you in the waist part. Hipsters will visually balance the proportions. And try to put on men’s jeans models – they might fit you as well because they just have different proportions compared to women’s wear.

If you happen to have full thighs you should choose relaxed cut jeans made from solid denim with straight trouser legs and a low waistline. High-waisted jeans will do as well. The basic color for you is dark blue. And pay special attention to back pockets! The most suitable custom jeans models have big back pockets covering the buttocks and deflecting attention away from your thighs. Avoid wearing light colors as well as figure-fitting stretch jeans models. Short-cut or tight at the bottom jeans as well as jeans with too small and separated back pockets are definitely not for you to wear. Such jeans models will make you look even more plumpy.

In case you have a rotund figure, wear custom tailored jeans with a relaxed cut and straight trouser legs. Avoid wearing too baggy jeans, because they bunker as well. You should prefer dark colors, because they usually have a slimming effect, help to conceal all imperfections and make you visually gracile. The denim your jeans are manufactured from should have a soft structure. Remember – seams inside trouser legs make you look slimmer, and seams on the outside have a contrary effect. Extra-long jeans coming down to the floor will visually make your legs look longer and your figure slimmer as well. High-waisted jeans with corsage will conceal your belly.

Distressed Jeans and Used Jeans – What’s the Difference?

When you scour through the seemingly endless supply of websites a Google search yields raving about the latest popular designer jeans you will find one thing in common: their price. Designer jeans for whatever reason are going to cost you hundreds of dollars in the most popular department stores and high-end boutiques. There is one more common trait, it seems, having to do with the style of designer jeans. Holes, rips and tears, threads fraying on edges, all mutilated by a machine and labeled appropriately, according to fashionistas, as “distressed jeans”. Ironically, people still pay the markup on designer jeans beat up with these unnatural wears. But designer brands wouldn’t associate themselves with poor quality denim, and it appears that their quality jeans do hold up for years and years despite their “used” condition out of the box.

If style is what people are truly after, wouldn’t it make sense to find a pair of naturally worn jeans, since this is the precise style designer brands try to mimic? After all, pre-owned jeans cost a fraction of the price of new jeans and we all know that jeans last a lifetime. In fact, denim to this day is the most durable pant material since Levi Strauss made jeans so famous with gold miners in the West. Could you picture the typical response after telling one of those hard-working miners that in the future, young rich kids would be buying torn and tattered jeans for 5 times the price of your average jeans?

You can never question fashion because it is a statement, so we won’t talk about the reasons why distressed jeans have become so popular. Quite simply, distressed jeans are a hot commodity. Men and women alike can show off a little more skin with a tear here and a rip there. Celebrities started wearing ripped jeans and people caught on to their fashion trends. But who wants to pay celebrity sized prices on a pair of jeans? The truth is most of us are not celebrities and we don’t make as much money as we want to. You may feel comfortable in that pricey pair of designer jeans, but just think about how comfortable you will be when your credit card bill arrives in the mail. We are already in a bind with the current state of the economy. Many people are trying out as many ways as they can save and scrape in a little more money just for some peace of mind. You can too.

If a new pair of jeans is what you are after, but don’t want to pay as much, I would recommend a few places online. Craigslist. Underneath the “for sale” section you will find “clothing+acc”. Within this category search for “jeans” and you will find a gold mine of savings. People are selling all sorts of jeans here in your hometown – used and new, all bargains. For example, just now searching I found a used pair of True Religion designer jeans, my size for $20 in excellent condition. You really couldn’t beat that. eBay would be another great place to search for used jeans, but they also have new designer jeans for much lower than retail. The great thing about eBay is that you don’t have to drive around town to locate your seller – eBay sellers ship to your doorstep. eBay also has a much larger selection of jeans to choose from, and you are most certainly going to be able to find your size. Lastly, I developed my own website (featured below) that is focused on the pre owned jeans niche and makes it really easy for people to find their sizes and their favorite brands, which are all used jeans you can buy right now on eBay. With these three recommended websites, you are on your way to take your style one step further while saving loads of money on jeans. You could also hop on the band wagon and start selling your used jeans on Craigslist and eBay, to effectively fund your future used jeans purchases.

I hope you will never have to buy another pair of expensive jeans again. Jeans are meant to be worn until they can’t be worn any more. Jeans can last a lifetime. If you get tired of them, you can give them to charity, sell them on eBay or hand them down to a loved one. A pair of Levi’s over 120 years old sold on eBay in 2005 to a Japanese collector for $60,000. I’m sure they could still be worn today. Start buying pre owned jeans from a reputable source, the person who bought them from the store, brought them home and wore them originally. That way you’ll have a complete history if you really wanted it. The only thing you need to do to make jeans look new again is put them in the wash, because if they come ripped and torn on retail racks, your new pair of jeans may as well be in someone else’s closet, or better yet being worn by someone else.

Tummy Control Jeans – Top Ten Picks

The dreaded tummy bulge, we all know how it got there and how hard it is to get rid of, but, short of an old fashioned girdle, we don’t seem to know how to hide it. It’s easy to find swim suits and underwear for tummy control, but how does that work for jeans (especially low rise)? Believe me, if you think that no one will notice those control top pantyhose or that heavy duty body shaper sitting 5 inches above the waistband of your jeans, you are wrong!

To the rescue, a new crop of tummy control jeans that allow you to look great without the extra layers of spandex. Denim technology and the use of stretch have taken the jeans market in a whole new direction, allowing jeans to be soft, flexible, and supportive. Couple that with designers who recognize that all women, even those with a little extra tummy, want great style, and you’ve got yourself a denim revolution. No longer do you have to settle for boring “mom” jeans (hey being a mom is great, but we don’t want to look like that SNL skit). Designer brands like Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, Nancy Bolen, and Christopher Blue are bringing together modern styling and body contouring in their newest jeans. Now you can have the latest looks in a style that you can really wear.

When it comes to that spare tire (muffin top for the hip crowd), we find that people have the style tips all wrong, wearing just the kind of jeans that will make them look bigger instead of smaller. We have 5 tips to beat the bulge:

o Look for mid rise jeans that offer plenty of coverage for your stomach

o Look for darker color denim and no extra wash treatments in the front. Those will draw attention to your stomach

o Look for wider shaped waistbands. They add an extra measure of slimness and shaping that will make your waist look great.

o Stay away from pleats. Instead keep it simple and clean in the front with classic 5 pocket or slash pocket styling.

o Stay away from elastic waists and button flys. You don’t need the extra bulk.

One big question remains: Do tummy control jeans really work? We’ve tested hundreds of jeans to find out and we have great news. They do! Our top picks are listed below.

Not Your Daughters Jeans Tummy Tuck Stretch Jeans, $88: Patented stitch technology to trim your waist

Not only does this jean deliver on its promises, flattening your tummy, it’s made of some of the softest denim we’ve felt. Patented “criss-cross” stitching inside the front panel works wonders to add support and control to your tummy. It fits almost everyone well and has a flattering modern style that looks great in the slimming dark wash.

Not Your Daughters Jeans Stretch jeans, $118: Soft denim and a slim look

Like the Tummy Tuck style, this jean has specially engineered front pockets that help keep your waistline looking slim and trim. The waistband is cross cut for a comfortable, just below your waist fit. This is a great style that satisfies all of those fashion do’s in one chic package.

Nancy Bolen Suddenly Slim ‘R’ jeans, $88: A Hidden front panel does the trick

Buy the smaller size and let the stretch do it’s magic. The woven control panel will really control your tummy while the boot cut styling will bring an overall slender look. This jean won the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for excellence in comfort, quality, fit, ease of care, and appearance after wash. You’ll love the overall smooth, sleek look this jean will give you.

Chadwick’s straight leg jeans, $29: Power mesh for powerful control

The power mesh panel works, and so does the price! A more conservative style, this jean sits at your waist and tapers down to a smaller leg opening, emphasizing the curve of your hips and waist. The front has a smooth clean fit which is great for keeping the focus off of your tummy area. The waistband is fairly rigid and can feel a bit tight, but it is a good choice for those who have some waist definition.

Christopher Blue Ric Flair jeans, $145: A mid rise jean with great style

Not sold as a tummy control jean, it still does the trick. The high quality, high stretch denim will hold you in. The waistband will sit close to your body without folding over or binding your waist. We like that the waist is a bit lower for an updated look that still covers your problem area. The wash is concentrated on the thigh, drawing the eye away from your tummy.

Christopher Blue Lloyd’s Sister jeans, $148: Subtle shaping to redefine your body

The soft stretch fabric of this jean will hold you in and mold to your curves. Not only will it offer control for your tummy, it will enhance the curve and shaping through your seat, redefining your whole look. This mid rise jean may seem a bit lower than you’re used to, but it still offers plenty of coverage and has an updated look.

Jag Jeans 5 pocket stretch jeans, $79: A wardrobe essential for a slimmer look

Again, not specific for tummy control, this jean dips slightly at the front waist for an updated look that will still give you plenty of tummy coverage. There is extra room in the front panel to cover and smooth your body without pulling or feeling tight. Stretch denim is the key; evening out all of those bumps and bulges.

Newport News Stretch boot cut jeans, $29: Coverage you need with a smoothing fit

The slightly heavier stretch denim of this jean gives you good coverage and support for that left over baby bulge. It has clean straight forward styling and a classic boot cut leg shape making this a fantastic basic. You will be amazed at all of the color options. Just remember, dark colors are the most slimming.

Cambio Norah jeans, $195: Two way stretch for comfort and control

Cambio is one of the few brands that use 2 way stretch denim, allowing the Norah jean to support and control your tummy with unbelievable softness and comfort. The waist is a bit lower in the front and then tilts up in the back. This adds definition to your waist shape and lengthens the look of your legs. For a subtle wash, try the Dark Stonewash. The Precool wash shown here will place too much emphasis on your tummy area.

Gloria Vanderbilt Giselle jeans, $27: Balance your proportions with this boot cut style

Colombian Conflict: Failure of Successive Negotiations on an Ongoing Violence

The Colombian conflict is one of the world´s oldest of internal armed conflicts. The creation of the main guerrilla groups still active (FARC and ELN) dates from the years 1950 and 1960. The extension of this confrontation can be explained both by internal political developments (weakness of the territorial state presence, exclusive control of power by the two traditional parties) and external influences (diffusion of the revolution in the 1960s, drug trafficking in the 1970s). Since then, the country is developing under the influence of violence. Annually, over 20,000 victims among the civilian population prove the seriousness of the situation. Since the failure of several attempts of negotiations, violence has been increased, thus causing displacement of thousands of people. UNHCR estimates that Colombia is the country, after Sudan, with the highest number of IDPs (internally displaced people).

To understand reasons this extension of the armed conflict, it is essential to elucidate its causes and examine difficulties of its resolutions. Since 1980s, various negotiation attempts took place: their successive failures weigh on both the strategies of the government and guerrilla groups. With the election of Uribe in 2002, the situation was characterized by strategy of open armed confrontation. That prevents any prospect of a negotiated solution and the end of armed conflict seemed possible only by military way. But this didn’t mean the end of armed groups and violence. Since the election of President Santos (2010), the parties have started new negotiations and have confirmed their desire to end the conflict. Therefore the process and results of these negotiations appear to be blurred.

Historical background

The Colombian armed conflict has its roots in the period of La Violencia (1949-1953), a very bloody civil war between two major political parties: Conservatives, then in power, and Liberals. Violence debuted after the assassination of Liberal Party leader Jorge Elicer Gaitan in 1948. Following a brief period of military dictatorship, the Liberal and Conservative parties came together in 1957 and created a coalition called Frente Nacional. This agreement was intended to put an end to armed clashes, but mainly to prevent another conflicts by a power-sharing agreement. As part of this agreement, liberals and conservatives alternated the presidency and would share the positions of political leadership from the central to local government. The agreement was sustainable: it was established for four presidential terms (1958-1974) and continues thereafter in practices coalition government.

This agreement excluded small armed groups from other political trends that are neither liberal nor conservative. In remote regions, rural communities were organized during the Violencia´s Period in self-defense militias in the context of civil war. Influenced by communist ideas, from the defense of their land and establishment of collective structures of production means, they refused their demobilization at the end of the La Violencia period and rejected the power-sharing pact between liberals and conservatives. In the context of institutions reconstruction, these militias appeared to elites as an obstacle to national reconciliation process. Thus, the government undertook to attack them by force in 1964-1965. Despite the military offensive against them, they are not destroyed. Nor politically integrated into the regime or defeated militarily, they formally came together in organized protest movements that have undertaken the first activities of the Colombian guerrillas. The two most active important revolutionary movements, which were born in reaction to these events, are the FARC and ELN. The EPL group (Ejercicio Popular de Liberación), founded in 1967, was also influential, but demobilized in 1990.

In contrast to these groups, the paramilitaries “paracos” came in addition to the conflict. They are the answer conservative elites have made to defend their economic and political interests in a widespread violence context. It was legalized by Parliament with Decree 3398 of 1965 and Law 48 of 1968. These groups are formed by landowners allied to drug traffickers to fight against guerrillas and support the army in counterinsurgency efforts (cf.Jennifer S. Holmes, p.4). But their actions are no different from their enemies’ guerrillas; violence and terrorize the civilian population. They gained national unity in 1997, under the name of AUC- Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia-. This movement of the right defends the interests of large landowners and has as goal the removal of all communist-types aspirations. Several observers note a direct association between the military and the AUC, and military condone their camps and activities. Yet the paramilitaries, such as the FARC, fueled by income provides drug trafficking. In addition, the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR) sometime supported, according to their own interests, the main protagonists of the Colombian conflict. This international interference has greatly contributed to the degeneration of the conflict.

Other rebel groups, such as M19 (radical nationalist and populist) emerged (1973-1990) and enjoyed a great popularity due to spectacular actions: the theft of 5000 weapons and the occupation of the Embassy of the Dominican Republic (1980) as well as of the law court (1985).

The history and interests that drive the Colombian conflict help to explain the dynamics and transformations that characterize it. These events are developed in a global context where the Cold War was at its peak. Then these groups were more influenced by the diffusion of the victory of the guerrilla in Cuba and the experience of Che Guevara in Bolivia.

Ideologically the Colombian conflict has aimed at the land distribution and social equality. The guerrillas believe that the people are victims from landowners and the military. The FARC and some revolutionaries groups justify their violent on behalf of the Colombian population and they promote their ideals of social justice, equality and solidarity. So they can recruit candidates and save their image to the effect that they are still fighting on behalf of farmers and social justice. Thereafter, the guerrillas abandoned its project of social emancipation and changed in an essentially military action. However, the conflict has been transformed and today has its origins in the drug traffic and land control for the coca cultivation. Consequently, many are questioning its real desire to become a legitimate political party in the actual military and political context.

Negotiation failure and conflict’s complexity

The 1980s would dramatically change the situation, both in political and military point of view. The development of drug cartels have ability to destabilize the government becomes central actors. They can influence politicians by corruption, intimidation and violence: bombings against government buildings, assassination of political leaders and judges, destruction of a civilian aircraft in flight, etc.). For guerrillas, this is a godsend: access to such a source of income allows them to come out of marginality that characterized them. Some groups will accommodate the presence of cartels to share illegal weapons industries. Other groups are going to be directly involved in the drug traffic organization. The relationship between guerrillas and cartels are complex and variable according to the groups, regions and times. But the effect is very fast: the FARC emerged as the powerful group and “increased from an estimated 3,600 combatants in 1986 to 16,500 in 1996, while the ELN went from about 800 in 1986 to 4,500 in 2001” (Giselle Lopez, p.7).

Between 1982 and 1986, the President Belisario Betancur proposed a suspension of hostilities, but without disarmament, in order to realize a national dialogue which should involve the guerrilla’s leaders. In the context of armed truce, the FARC supported some social mobilizations, especially farmers, and constituted a political group (UP-Unión Patriótica) which presented candidates for the elections. The UP got 5% in the 1986 presidential elections, a few seats of deputies and senators, and especially local representatives in areas of the presence of the FARC. But in the context of violence, candidates and leaders of the UP are systematically targeted by paramilitary groups, on behalf of the fact that they are the direct representatives of the FARC.

The end of the 1980s knows a deterioration of the situation. The government then conducts an open war both against the drug cartels, guerrilla groups, and even paramilitary organizations. Guerrillas, meanwhile, continue their control of territorial actions and political influence, with complex relationships in different regions with drug traffickers. Finally, paramilitary organizations become truly autonomous actors: in some regions they serve as auxiliaries to the army, in others they become real enemies of it, establishing a regime of order through violence. And the Colombian crisis of the late 1980s is neither a revolutionary challenge nor conflict of drugs, but the addition of these two aspects.

Peace proposal by institutional reform (1990-1991)

In the violence context, convergence occurs in the late 1990s between different actors with idea to get out the country of the crisis, so the institutions have to be reformed and modernized. Sectors within the government, political parties, groups of intellectuals and student movement mobilized the demand of institutions reform. According to them, the internal crisis can only be solved by changing the rules of the political game that allows renewing the old bipartisan framework, to better represent other options and bring citizens closer to power. The more dynamic group in this process was the M-19, which was characterized by the middle class. Its leaders would be able to integrate into the dynamics of the Constituent Assembly. They accept a quick negotiation that allows them to demobilize and become a political movement, Alianza Democrática M-19, just before the elections to the Constituent Assembly. Getting 27% of votes in the election for the Constituent Assembly, this movement appears to be one of the main actors of the institutions reform. Its candidate becomes one of three co-presidents of the Constituent Assembly, with representatives of Liberal and Conservative Parties.

The Constituent Assembly composition reflects the combination of alliances, contrary to the usual organization of Colombian politics from Liberal and Conservative Parties. The new text maintains political and social rights and acknowledges the political existence of minorities as well as modernizes the functioning of institutions. However, this initiative was short-lived, because the most important groups of guerrillas, FARC and ELN, remain outside of the processes. During the work of the Constituent Assembly, the military clashes continue. Negotiations with the FARC resumed in late 1991 and 1992, but without success.

The hope that the new constitution represents a solution to the Colombian crisis lasts a short time. The two main parties rapidly regain the control of political life. Moreover, the idea of political integration of former guerrillas as way of solution to the armed comfits is seriously called into question. After the Constituent Assembly, the Alianza Democrática M-19 experienced a series of electoral defeats, so that it ceases to exist since 1994. This movement is undermined by internal divisions and has many difficulties to provide a political agenda.

The political reintegration failure of some guerrillas led to the continuation of the conflict and the civilian population is the first victim. The conflict also takes a relatively new face: IDPs of the violence. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians fled the armed groups to find a precarious refuge in different cities, especially in their peripheries. The phenomenon is so massive that the government request in 1997 UNHCR to intervene and support the displaced.

The new negotiations continue between the government and guerrilla (1998-2001). President Andrés Pastrana, would grant the demilitarization of a vast area (40,000 km2) to begin negotiations with the FARC, with support from the international community (especially European countries). Under this agreement, the fighting would continue outside this area. According to some critics, President Pastrana gave the feeling of more concessions to the guerrillas that he got the progress on the path of appeasement. Again, negotiations bogged down for months without substantial progress. In February 2002, this negotiation is definitely over. Like all presidential terms since 1982, the Pastrana´s presidency begins with a limited period of armed conflict and ends with the widespread continuing clashes. And in turn, it indicates a failure of new negotiation to escape the armed conflict.

New conflict management (2002-2010)

The election at the presidency of Alvaro Uribe (2002) marks a rupture in the treatment of armed conflict. The new government took more drastic measures than its predecessors in order to regain control of the country. During his campaign, unlike his predecessors, Uribe announced its intention to make an open war against the drug cartels and guerrillas, to not seek negotiation or political agreement. Under “democratic security”, he includes the fight against armed groups as part of the institutional strengthening. But how?

Uribe has implemented a series of special measures, including the recruitment of thousands of peasants as soldiers and informers. But such a measure has created a climate of distrust in communities and dividing people. This strategy does not help to create sense of confidence in the population. In addition, the relationship between the paramilitaries and the government undermines the legitimacy of this.

Under Uribe’s government, the Colombian society is subject to a military power rather than local government. The military replaces the municipal authority and has full authority over the people movement, the imposition of the curfew and the prohibition on the right to protest. In addition to this, there is a weak judicial system that does not guarantee the application and enforcement of the order according to the fundamental rules of law.

Since the President Uribe interrupts any negotiations with the FARC and ELN, the new strategy of the government is based on the direct confrontation. “Plan Colombia”, launched in September 1999, is part of this policy. The plan is funded by the international community to strengthen the military and institutional capacity of the Colombian government in its fight against drug trafficking. So the plan converted into military aid especially from the USA. But according to the critics, the sustained interest of the USA in Colombia has been tied to research oil in order to reduce its dependence on the Gulf countries. With only 20% of its exploited oil resources, Colombia offers a unique opportunity.

Between 2000 and 2005 the assistance from USA to Colombia is estimated at about $ 4 billion, making Colombia the third recipient of U.S. aid in the world. This assistance allows the acquisition of modern equipment by the Colombian army. These funds also allowed the creation of additional battalions. It also means the permanent presence of the U.S. military in the country for the training of Colombian elite units’ army and for intelligence work as well as the military aerial surveillance. This aid is an opportunity for army reform: “Between 1998 and 2002, the armed forces in Colombia grew by 60% to 132,000. (… ). By the end of Uribe’s second term in August 2010, the Colombian military reached 283,000” (June S. Beittel: 2013, p.11).

The foreign military presence has a negative impact on the conflict. It allows guerrilla movements to stress the motivations of the USA are appropriated to Colombian oil on the detriment of Colombian population. This claim is reinforced by the fact that U.S. forces are closely located to the oil infrastructure. The United States are financially and politically supporting the Government of Colombia against “narco-terrorism”, but they also pursue their own interest.

The poverty and inequality in the society helps to maintain the FARC position, which accuse the government of working against the poor people. This has contributed to the perception that the government favors a rich minority at the expense of poor majority and working in connivance with the USA to meet their oil interests in exchange for weapons.

The USA and Colombian army strategy also is questionable. In order to tackle the drugs problem, thousands of hectares have been fumigated. This program raises concerns, because fumigation is highly chemical and destroys the legal agriculture, while having a serious impact on the environment and the health of local populations. But this program has had no success. Moreover, coca production has increased since the beginning of fumigation. This is explained by the fact that coca production can easily be relocated and may extend into areas less accessible by the army. This is also explained by the transfer of the coca production from other countries in the region. However, conflicts involving the easily exploitable natural resources such as diamonds, oil or drugs, are more difficult to solve than any other, because the promoters have the interest to continue the fight (Cf. Karen Ballentine:2003, p.48).

Demobilization of AUC: a blurred case

Negotiation of government with the guerrillas was not possible, but conversely it was with paramilitaries. However, paramilitaries have greatly benefited from drug trafficking to increase. Their tactic consists of controlling the strategic areas of the production and the export of drugs through violence and the use of terror (massacres and displacement of the civilian population, systematic elimination of any political or social contestation).

The Uribe´s government proposed a negotiation, which involved the demobilization and reintegration assistance of AUC members as well as a sentence reduction. Several Colombian and international non-governmental organizations have criticized the juridical gap in this process and the impunity that the government has offered this group, which was responsible for over 50% of cases of human rights violations in Colombia. This negotiation process had no legal framework itself that would have a significant impact on the judicial process of AUC criminals. Because of that, some communities are taking the law into its hands, using violence, and thus the violence cycle is renewed.

The demobilization agreement, signed formally in February 2006 led to the end of paramilitary organizations. The demobilized AUC had three choices: After receiving the sentence reduction, they are either integrated into the battalion of the Army or reintegrated within cooperatives and private vigilance to protect private companies or properties. Finally, and this is the third choice, some of them are joining the urban criminal groups linked to paramilitaries.

It is important to note that members of the AUC have controlled the majority of cities because of their non-formal mandate to secure urban areas, helping the police and military to regain control of the country from the hands of the guerrillas. Moreover, the AUC demobilization was in no way a guarantee that the other groups would follow this process. On the contrary, the violence is persisting in the regions of these demobilized combatants and groups are reconstituted in order to control the drug trafficking. The free areas that were left by the AUC are quickly taken over by these paramilitary or other guerrilla groups. In this context, the paramilitary demobilization is only apparent: numbers of their members are still active and maintain strategies for territorial control through violence.

Guerrilla’s Weakening?

The most obvious sign of balance of power in favor of military forces is weakening the FARC. But the effects of the army reinforcement were not immediate. Until 2003, the FARC are obtaining military success by attacking army bases or abduction of many politicians, ministers, governors, deputies, soldiers and police, considered as political hostages, held for a possible prisoner exchange. The prolongation of the conflict is gradually inducing a change in the power balance. Since 2001, the FARC is being in the longest period of armed confrontation, without truce or partial agreement. The army is focusing its actions on the regions of presence of members of the FARC Secretariat and multiplying the success. Therefore, the number of offensive actions, taken by the FARC, has decreased, compared to previous years. Access to funding sources (drug trafficking, kidnapping) is much more difficult. Since 2007, dozens of regional leaders were arrested or killed and the group is decreased considerably. Different liberations of hostages are also reflecting its internal difficulties.

The death of different historical leaders such as Manuel Marulanda, Tirofijo in May 2008, reinforces the impression that the FARC weakening is real. Marulanda was the head of the organization since its foundation. FARC is certainly weakened, but not destroyed. Regional groups persist and maintain real action capabilities. In addition, this weakening does not mean the reducing levels of violence.

The lack of a formal framework for political negotiation obligates Alvaro Uribe to undertake the total destruction of armed groups. But politically, it is a bad strategy. These groups will be more difficult to demobilize without a common national political structure. Otherwise, local emancipations of these groups will continue to exercise the political and social control through violence.

Current negotiations

From his government beginning (2010), President Santos is trying to make contact with the guerrillas. This is the fourth round of negotiations in three decades between the both parties. Since early 2012, Timoshenko – the new commander of the FARC- confirmed the guerrilla willingness to continue secret talks with the government. The first dialogue phase began in February 2012 and ended in August 2012 in Havana (Cuba), with the signing of the General Agreement to end the conflict and build stable and durable peace. The point discussions of the negotiations are: complete agricultural development policy; guarantees for the participation of the political opposition; the end of the conflict; the solution of the problem of illegal trafficking drugs; right of the victims; and the implementation of the final negotiated agreement. The second phase began in Oslo (Norway) in October 2012. The third phase consists of the simultaneous implementation of all agreements, during which the government will guarantee verification mechanisms and promote process participation of civil society.

Unfortunately the peace talks were suspended after the abduction of the Colombian Army General (Ruben Alzate) in November 2014 by the guerrillas, who claim a bilateral cease-fire. Since 2012, the guerrillas undertook not to remove civilians against ransom, while reserving the right to capture the police or military as prisoners of war. Two years after the start of discussions, these events seem to put at risk the peace negotiations.

The points-discussions mentioned in the negotiation are important for the solving of Colombian conflict. But in this negotiation process, there are only the government and the FARC. The ELN expressed its intention to enter into the negotiation process, but there are still no official statements about it. Besides guerrillas, where are the paramilitaries in this case? These groups or bands are also major actors in the crisis. In addition to this, peace in Colombia involves social and political issues. It is not just a matter of government and the armed groups, but also of the whole society. In this sense the different key sectors or organizations of civil society are under-represented in the negotiation process. This can be a failure element in the process of negotiation for the peace and the end of violence, because all concerned parties are not involved in the process.

The Colombian conflict cannot and should not be analyzed under its current form. It is the result of a long history of violent appropriation of land – and some parts of the rich territory in resource- by the dominant sectors of the country. It also results in an unfair distribution of wealth. This process, supported by an emerging class that has benefited from an alliance of interests between powerful local and regional authorities and the army and drug traffickers, gave birth to a narco-paramilitary phenomenon. At the same time, by violence or by more subtle institutional mechanisms, this process led to the exclusion of popular organizations from the main centers of power. This makes the resolution of different politics issues impossible, which keep armed conflict going. These conflicts involve communities of different regions of the country and are continually increasing the statistics of victims and displaced populations. Consequently, “there are several complex factors that have contributed to the Colombian civil war. These factors represent not only the root causes of the conflict but also forces that have allowed for the continuation of the war and the escalations of violence that characterize its evolution” (Giselle Lopez, p. 7).

The Colombian conflict has multiple components, such as social, economic and political, etc. These must be disabled to create conditions for sustainable peace. The direct armed confrontations against the guerrillas confirm the government’s claim to deny the political dimension of armed groups and resolve the political conflict by war. The continuation of justifying the war against armed groups under the pretext that it would be a war of democracy against the narco-terrorist is a clear paradox example. However, for some politicians war is, in principle, the easy way for resolving a conflict. When the internal situation is confused and aggravated, a declaration of war becomes the most effective way to clarify the record. But the conflict between the government and armed groups are known for their increasingly frequent violations of humanitarian and human rights.

In a country that has known war for over fifty years, peace attempts also require a long negotiation. In most cases, these attempts have been designed to establish a cease-fire between the armed actors. Beyond the announcement effects, they don’t have lasting consequences on peace. On contrary, they have generally led to a reorganization of the conflict, making its management a structural characteristic of Colombian politics. More specifically, the discourse on peace allows regulating the armed conflict, sometimes intensifying it, but never terminating it.

The resolution of the Colombian armed conflict requires political work and dialogue, where all parties (the government, the armed groups and the civil society) can talk together, communicate their wishes, negotiate and give up to resolve disagreements. In addition, all parties must recognize each other. In the negotiation process, any group should not be excluded. All groups involved in the conflict must be represented. This is the weakness of current negotiation process that includes only the FARC and the government. In many cases, the government seeks to negotiate exclusively with some groups, such as was the case with the M19 and Paramilitary groups. A correct mechanic must be created to integrate all groups into the process, because the FARC is not the only group involved in the conflict. Many other major groups, such as the FLN, do not participate in the actual negotiation process. In addition, separate negotiations between the government and groups do not seem an effective and sustainable solution. It has been so in previous negotiations: all concerned parties have never been at the same time around the table of negotiation. In the negotiation process there was always exclusions of some actors of the crises. In this case, a successful exit from the crisis is not too obvious.


Violence in Colombia is not quite a civil war, but is increasingly against civilians. Some analysts argue that political motivated guerrillas (FARC, FLN) are still legitimate. Others believe that drug trafficking would have altered their ideological pretensions and have transformed into pure economic interests. In this context, in which some actors have interest to maintain the current level of violence, any peace initiative remains difficult. In addition, considering the antagonistic perceptions of the causes of conflict and, especially, financial motivations of each other, any resolution must first and foremost take into account the root, which caused the conflict, namely the income provided by the traffic drugs. In addition, we must also consider the link between armed groups, members of the government and international networks. According to the interpretation of the economic and political conflicts advanced by T.Addison and Murshed, violence is an alternative to peaceful production as a form of economic activity (Cf.:1998, p. 666). This theory claims that conflicts exist and persist because they are financially profitable. In this sense, the perpetuation of violence is a rational decision that allows realizing more profit than in time of peace (Cf. Crocker A Chester:2001, p.143). According to this theory, in Colombia, the primary objective is therefore not ideological, but economic. Without violence, the lucrative drug traffic could not take place. Production of the drug is easy and inexpensive, and additionally extremely profitable.

According to this theory, the parties are rational and their decisions, either they feel favorable to peace or war, are related to the defense of their own interests. The persistence of conflict is based on the fact that violence is the objective of the parties. If they want to resolve the conflict, the dialogue would inevitably seek to change this dynamic. They would try to make peace “profitable”, or at least also profitable as war, inviting the parties to the negotiating table. Such solutions necessarily imply a change in the balance of power, but how is it possible to break the impasse? On the one hand, the government forces fail to eliminate the rebels, on the other; the rebels are not able to gain power. Added to this, there is another fundamental challenge: how to restore trust between the different parties, after many failures of previous peace attempts?

How to Handle Writing Assignments – 6 Top Tips to Relieve the Stress

All of us at some point of time have had to do assignments; they could be at different points of time in our life. Sometimes in school, college or at work could hand over an assignment for you. It is very important to take it on your stride and complete the work before hand.

I initially always feared taking up assignments but it got easier ever since I started preparing in advance. Preparing before hand and collecting the necessary information regarding your assignment is an art. Failing grades is not something uncommon, most students fail to take assignments or their work seriously and this results in handling the last minute emergencies.

Just a single person cannot complete some assignments, and hence it becomes important for him to form a team of his own who can coordinate and complete the assignment. This is most common in business fields today.

Following are a few tips to be taking while handling an assignment

1) I always made sure to collect the information, doing researches in libraries or online could help improve the assignment completion largely.

2) Assignments do not necessarily have to be project work; it could also be a slide show. Assignments could just include you or a group of people

3) Proper delegation of the work is important for each member of the group to understand what he or she needs to deliver

4) When the stepwise information is written down clearly, it helps understand each one’s research work or their duties.

5) Make sure you inform your team members to report to you back on time with the information and make sure you are strict about that

6) Once you have received the work from your team, you are not done. It should be reported back to the first person who delegated this assignment to you

Very important part while assignment writing is proofreading, editing. Double-check your goals, guidelines after you fnish it.

Women: Presidents And Prime Ministers In The 20th Century

From my perspective, I think that democracy is synonymous of equality between women and men in the civil society and government. Ironically, there are more women voters, but fewer women candidates. However, From my point of view I think that “Parity Democracy” is the big difference between democracies and dictatorships.I remembered that the Taliban´s regime -the worst dictatorship in the modern history- prohibited women from participating in Afghanistan´s National Government.In 1990 Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a pro-dremocracy activist, won the elections in Myanmar (ex-Burma), but she was arrested and the results were cancelled abruptly by dictator Saw Maung.

Certainly, international organizations reports that 10 democracies have the highest proportion of women in its governmental structures: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Iceland, Germany, New Zealand, Mozambique, South Africa and Spain.Another example: under the Administration of Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright was the first female Secretary of State.

Sri Lanka, formerly named Ceylan, is the home to Sirimavo Ratwate Dias Bandaranaike. She was often described as one of the most important females in the history: Mrs Bandaranaike became World´s first female Prime Minister. She influenced Prime Minister from Janet Jagan to Gro Harlem Brundtland with her leadership for women´s rights and democracy.

Inspired by example of the “Women Revolution” in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and Bangla Desh, Chandrika Kumaratunga, Bandaraike´s daughter, was elected Head of State in 1994.Her government was very similar that of her mother.
Certainly, there were fewer governments by women´s leaders as Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, who has fought for the democracy and women´s rights in Nicaragua, one of the most poorest countries in Latin America.

Finally I would like to finish my article with my favourite personal motto: “The future is for those people who believe in the beauty of their dreams”, by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt, who was First Lady of the United States between 1933 and 1945.

ARGENTINA: In 1974 Maria Estela Martinez de Peron, best known as “Isabel Peron”, became the first woman President in the modern history.She is the widow of former President Juan Domingo Peron (1946-1955 and 1973-1974). After his death in 1974, Juan Domingo Peron was replaced by Vicepresident Isabel Peron. On March, 1976, after 2 years in power, she was ousted in a military coup led by Jorge Rafael Videla. She was forced into exile.

BANGLADESH: The country, an ex-British colony, has had two women in the national power. Begum Khaleda Zia was Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996. Khaleda was an advocate for the environment.She escaped assassination in 1995. However, she was reelected without opposition, but Khaleda Zia was succeeded by other woman: Sheik Hassina Wajed, anti-governmental activist. Sheik Hassina Wajed was as unpopularity as her predecessor.Bangladesh was one of the few states in the world whose government has been successively held by women.

BOLIVIA:Lydia Gueiler Tejada, former accountant, served as interim President of Bolivia from 16 November 1979 to 17 July 1980.She was elected President by Parliament. Mrs Gueiler Tejada was overthrown by General Luis Garcia Meza Tejada, who was one of the worst dictators in the Latin American history.

CANADA:Dame Kimberley Campbell was ephemeral Prime Minister from 25 June 1993 to November 1993. But she was not the only one in power. Jeanne Sauce was Governor General from 1984 to 1989.Furthermore, Adrienne Clarkson was elected also GG in 1999. Currently, Michaelle Jean, was born in Haiti, has been elected GG in 2005.

DOMINICA: Dominica, a small country in the Caribbean, has been an independent State since 1978. Mary Eugenia Charles governed from 1980 to 1995. During her government Dominica had one of the most highest rate of human development in Latin America.In 1983, Mary Eugenia Charles, an admirer of Great Britain´s Margaret Thatcher, established diplomatic relations with Republic of China (ROC) or Taiwan. She was apparently supported by the United States and Taiwan for its anti-communism.

ICELAND:Vidis Finnbogadottir was Head of State of Iceland from 1980 to 1996.Vigdis was a key interlocutor between the Soviet Bloc and the United States. She was the first woman democratically elected President in the world.

INDIA: Indira Gandhi was one of the greatest politicians of the history. She served as Prime Minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and from 1980 to 1984. In the 1970s her government was marked by corruption, human rights abuses and pro-Soviet politics. In 1984, Mrs Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards. During her government, she was an anti-Apartheid leader. Many people loved her and others hated her. Currently, she is a symbol of the India.

IRELAND: Mary Robinson was elected Head of State of Ireland from 1990 to 1997. She was a forceful campaigner for women´s rights in the world.The fruits of her efforts continue to flourish: On November 11, 1997, Mary McAleese was elected President.The world recognized Ireland´s Mary robinson for her fight against abuses of refuges.

ISRAEL: Golda Meir governed as Prime Minister from 1969 to 1974. She is remembered as one of the most important women in the Israeli history.During her government, Israel and Egypt, Syria and Iraq went to war. After her death, Israel is the birthplace of important women as Leah Rabin and Shulamith Katznelson.

NEW ZEALAND: Jenny Shipley had an ephemeral government. She became the NZ´s first female Prime Minister.In 1999 Helen Clark was elected Prime Minister of NZ. Historically, New Zealand is the birthplace of the “Woman Suffrage”.The country´s name in the local dialect means “Land of the Woman Suffrage”.

NORWAY:Gro Harlem Brundtland served as Prime Minister for 11 years. She has been described as a “great Prime Minister”. She is equally admired as an ecologist and diplomatic.Under her leadership, Norway was an example of human development in the world.

PHILIPPINES:Corazon “Cory” Aquino was the fourth women in Asia to assume the position of President. After her victory, Aquino said that among her political projects were the anti-poverty and human rights.She was Benigno Aquino´s wife. She helped win more representation for women in the Parliament. It was under her government that full democratization began.

SRI LANKA: Sririmavo Bandaraike was the first woman who became Prime Minister in the history. Historically, she has been the first woman with real power in the 20th Century. Under her government, the Island, an ex- British colony, became a democratic republic. Mrs Bandaranaike had taken a prominent role in national affairs during the government of her daughter, President Chandrika Kumaratunga Bandaranaike (1994-2000).

UNITED KINGDOM: Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher, best known worldwide as the “Iron Lady”, was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. She was the most powerful woman in the industrialized world.Mrs Thatcher does not herself as a feminist. Thatcher was reelected Prime Minister in the 1980s and she was an active anti-communist leader.Her economical philosophy provided a model for many countries as Hungary, Czech Republic, Mauritius, Botswana, El Salvador, Chile and Cyprus. Under her leadership, the UK´s economy witnessed the most rapid growth in the 1980s.Ironically, she has not made campaigns for women´s rights, but she is an advocate for the ecology.Europe has produced many leaders, but none as Margaret Thatcher…

UNITED STATES:In 1996 Maria Jana Korbelova or Marie Hana Korbel, best known as Madeleine Albright, made history when she was elected Secretary of State of the United States.She was born in Czech Republic, former Czechoslovakia, but Madeleine became American citizen in the 1950s.She gained international recognition for her efforts on behalf of human rights and democracy. She was one of the few American leaders to balance good relations with North Korea…
Did you know that an American woman was Head of State?
Janet Jagan became President of Guyana, an ex-British colony and South American country.Mrs Jagan, a naturalized Guyanan citizen who was born in Chicago, Illinois, came to power from 19 December 1997 to 11 August 1999.

Tips on How to Pick Your Perfect Watch

The wristwatch is basically a tool whose main achievement is an accurate telling of the time. But just like a suit, or a car, or a house, besides its obvious object of use, a watch has to make a statement. The following lines are supposed to be helping you out in picking the perfect watch for your character, a watch that is supposed to reflect your personality and character besides doing its obvious job.

Disclaimer: I consider a medium-priced watch a tool that both does the job flawlessly, has a quality build to it that ensures that you can mention it in your will, and is affordable with a bit of effort for a medium Western budget. A maximum of $3000, which in my honest opinion is not a large sum to invest in something you are going to use – and make a statement with – for a lifetime.

First, think of your needs. Do you like deep diving, do you like flying, or are you into hiking or you simply hate outdoor sports and prefer staying indoors doing design, writing or something else? Because functionality comes first. You have to decide whether you need a chronograph, a shock resistant, a high water resistant, a digital display for keeping up with seconds or a single hand display if you’re not hard pressed by the instant. A simple analog dial or a modern bulky but concrete-hard tool? A sports design or a classic design?

If you haven’t narrowed it down yet then think where you’re going to wear it. If you’re a one-watch-guy then you need something that’s appropriate as a tool as well as a fashion accessory. I simply don’t think a plastic Swatch goes well with a very informal suit. Francois Hollande, the president of France, thinks it does. US Secret Service has given Obama a classy yet sturdy Jorg Gray chronograph that mimics the IWC pilot watch. It looks much better with a shirt and tie than a Swatch, really. Joe Biden has gone for a midsize Omega Seamaster, the same Pierce Brosnan or Prince William wear. Point for the Seamaster, that watch fits a pair of jeans just as well as an Armani suit. They just made it so sporty-elegant.

What I’m going to do is recommend a handful of brands you should check out: Omega, Sinn, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Meistersinger, Junghans Max Bill Design, Casio, Oris, Seiko, Hamilton, Longines. These are extremely good watches and, apart from Breitling, Casio and Tag Heuer, they do have automatic movements in the low end spectrum. Meaning among the cheaper models. An automatic, though less accurate than a quartz movement, consists of a system that does not have to rely upon third party energy to run. Meaning there’s a very complex and beautiful machine inside, something much sturdier than a battery-powered movement. If accuracy is what you’re after and care less about tradition and craftmanship, then Tissot, Fossil or Swatch could be worthwhile checking. Oh, and Casio has ONLY quartz-powered watches. Famed for the G – Shock series, which are extremely handy for practitioners of extreme sports.

If you’re a newbie, check out that list and take in consideration your needs then your aspect. I haven’t put IWC on the list because it usually exceed what I’d call medium-priced. For those who think those watches are luxury goods I would care to inform them that Blancpain ( that Russia’s Vladimir Putin seems extremely fond of ) or A. Lange & Sohne or Patek Philippe can easily top $40.000. And that is not for a special issue, but a regular one. So a 1k Oris or a $700 Junghans tend to look pretty affordable. Like I said, especially for lifetime of use.

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Meet the Famous Latin Guitarists

When it comes to music, Latin is one of the most represented worldwide. All across the world you can hear the beats of bossa nova, Salsa and mambo. Even the mainstream music industry has recognized the global and cultural impact of Latin that they have their own Grammy Awards. But what are truly inspiring were the stories of famous Latin guitarists who conquered the American and International airwaves playing the music from their childhood. Let’s look at some of them.

Manuel Barrueco
Manuel is a Cuban classical guitarist who collaborated with different artists and musicians such as Steve Morse, Al Di Meola and Andy Summers. At age 22, he received the Concert Artist Guild Award-a first for any classical guitarist. One of the recent highlights of his career is a repeat appearance at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He played under world-renowned conductors such as Seiji Ozawa, Franz Welster and David Zinman. His musical style is described as elegant and easy to play with. He is currently teaches at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

Carlos Santana
He is a Mexican-American rock guitar legend who pioneered the fusion of salsa, rock and jazz. His music is known for blues-based guitar lines accompanied by various accompaniments of percussion instruments such as congas and timbales. He ranked number 15 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time. He is also a multiawarded Grammy winner. He was famous for catchy Latin songs such as “Europa”, “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va”. His resurgence came in 1999 with the release of his album Supernatural which featured collaborations with Rob Thomas, Eric Clapton, Everlast, Wyclef Jean and others.

Antônio Peccifilho
Also known as Toquinho, is a Brazillian singer, composer and guitarist who became a big hit in the 1970’s through a Jorge Benjor composition, “QueMaravilha”. His biggest break came when he collaborated with Vinicius de Moraes to co-write “Garota de Ipanema (The Girl From Ipanema)”. He is known for his compositions about children.

Abel Carlevaro
He is a Uruguayan classical guitar player, composer and most of all a teacher. He was the creator of the now famous “Carlevaro” guitar. He also published a lot of books about his teachings in posture, philosophy and sound development; in which he discussed through a series of didactics such as “Cuadernos”, “School of Guitar Exposition of Instrumental Theory” and “Carlevaro Masterclass” series. His famous works are: “Preludios Americanos”, “Concierto No 3 paraGuitarra y Orquesta” and “Conciertodel Plata”.

There are many more Latin guitarists who made major impact not just in Southern America but around the world as well. These Latin composers and guitarists share the same passion for their culture. As a guitarist who likes to understand and appreciate Latin music even better, their creations are great pool of musical knowledge.

Acoustic guitar is a staple instrument for Latin music. Learn about the best acoustic guitar starter kit in town! For more guitar video lessons about Latin music– or any music for that matter– check our site now!

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Digital Photography, Drawing and Painting

When chemical photography ceased to be the mainstream process for producing realistic imagery, the quality and proliferation of photo like imagery increased. The cost and ease of capturing, editing and disseminating photo realistic imagery through digital means eclipsed chemical photography. There were also other subtle but probably equally profound changes.

The nature and meaning of what a photograph is fundamentally changed. In her essay Digitisation and the Living Death of Photography by Anne Marie Willis describes a zombie like possession of chemical photography by a photo like digital process. While agreeing with her position, I would add, that the digital environment, while not only covertly occupying the ground once inhabited by photography it has also altered the nature of drawing and painting. Methods of image production once distinct, are now seamless within the digital environment. Digital creation software produced by companies such as Adobe, Corel and many others have redefined the manner in which imagery is made. Photographic, drawn, painted, still, moving, 2D and 3D are all represented in a very convincing manner, all responding with considerable veracity to the visual characteristics of the original media. Examination of the veracity of the digital media quickly leads us to Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra, which provides us with one very useful reading of the situation, and his position here is borne out by the unavoidable differences between the digital representations of traditional media, and the media themselves, that is the direct versus the indirect. Paint is sticky and smelly, its digital representation is not, and we can say something similar in varying degrees for other previously mentioned traditional media. Another interesting difference between the digital and the traditional forms of media is their use by artists and designers. Previous differences between the various practitioners have like the media themselves become seamless. For example Fine artists and Graphic Designers once separated not only by the intention of their work, were also separated by the tools and media associated with their practice. These differences become unimportant within a digital environment and a remaining question is the nature of this ubiquity. The stereotypical cross-disciplinary renaissance model may be considered here, which relies on difference. Other ideas such as those discussed in Jorg Heiser’s Frieze article on Super Hybridity may also be considered.

Laurence North
Art by Laurence North can be seen at;,_Digital_Works/work_-1.html

Specialist areas of Art and Design practice are subject to redefinition within a digital creation environment. The traditional processes and mind sets are subject to reinvention and definition, this article introduces some basic ideas in relation to this debate.

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