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CHDS Presents a Hemispheric Forum on the Colombian Peace Negotiations
On February 6, an audience composed of government officials, policy professionals, and academics gathered at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) in Washington, D.C., for an exciting and timely panel discussion on the ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC insurgent group. A prestigious panel composed of noted Colombia experts and government representatives offered a range of perspectives on the peace process, each side’s motivations, and what the terms of a successful negotiation would entail.
The panel moderator, Mr. Eric Farnsworth, Vice President of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, gave a nuanced and thought-provoking introduction to the discussion. Providing the first perspective, AMB Carlos Urrutia, Colombia’s ambassador to the United States, offered the official position of the Colombian government and served as his country’s representative on the panel. CHDS Professor Dr. David Spencer presented an assessment of the FARC’s stated intent and historically antagonistic relationship to the Colombian political process. Mr. Stephen Johnson, Director of the Americas Program at CSIS, outlined several terms and opportunities for successful negotiations between the two parties. Dr. Ray Walser, Senior Policy Analyst on Latin America at the Heritage Foundation, provided the counterpoint, describing the internal and external obstacles to the peace talks. Finally, CHDS Professor Carlos Alberto Ospina Ovalle, drawing from his experience as former Commander of the Colombian Armed Forces, presented his view on the strategic implications for Colombia’s defense. Following the panel presentations, audience members took the opportunity to pose questions and discuss the realistic prospects for the peace negotiations.
The full video recording from this event can be accessed through the CHDS Video Library at http://www.ndu.edu/chds/video/chds_video.htm