Colombia differs in several important ways from her neighbors. Colombia is described by many as one of the world’s oldest, most stable functioning civilian liberal democracies. Unlike many other South American political regimes, Colombia can claim the distinction of having one of the world’s oldest Constitutions, and has not experienced any bloody military coups d’etat. Free enterprise and capitalism are the main characteristics of Colombia’s economic system, and Colombia enjoys a healthier economy than many of its neighbors. The nation’s economic conditions appeared to be very good during the 1980s, and the general welfare of the Colombian population seemed to be improving. One of Colombia’s strengths is its free press. Media exposure of drug traffickers and public disclosure of unethical or inappropriate behavior of public officials is a step in the right direction. Economic interest groups as well as the labor unions constitute a relatively recent phenomenon in Colombian history.