Colombia is a bright spot in the otherwise-bleak world of trying to restore functioning government to the undergoverned spaces of the world. It's a country that a decade ago was mired in narcoterrorism, insurgency, and violence. Today, the situation is dramatically improved. It's a fascinating story, and one that is often overlooked. My Brookings colleagues Michael O'Hanlon and Harold Trinkunas recently hosted Colombia's Minister of National Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno, to discuss Colombia's progress in the security space. Here is how Brookings described the event:
After more than four decades of conflict, Colombia has made substantial progress under the Uribe and Santos administrations in combating drug trafficking and insurgents and demobilizing paramilitary groups. In recent years, Colombians have seen prosperity increase and reductions in violence in many parts of their county. Today, the Santos administration is engaged in a peace process with the FARC insurgency that has recently shown promise, but now the administration faces the challenge of managing peace talks and an election at the same time. What lessons can Colombia offer for improving security and economic development within a democratic context, and for sharing the lessons it has learned with other states of the region?
On December 2, the Latin America Initiative (LAI) and the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence (21CSI) at Brookings hosted Colombian Minister of National Defense Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno for a discussion of Colombia’s security accomplishments, current challenges, and future needs at this crucial juncture in the nation’s history. LAI Director and Senior Fellow Harold Trinkunas provided introductory remarks. Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon of 21CSI then interviewed Minister Pinzón.