On Wednesday, February 6, CHDS hosted a panel discussion on the topic of the Peace Negotiations in Colombia. The forum was moderated by Eric Farnsworth, Vice President of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. Panelists included Carlos Urrutia, Colombian Ambassador to the United States; David Spencer, CHDS Assistant Professor of National Security Affairs; Stephen Johnson, CSIS Americas Program Director; Ray Walser, Senior Policy Analyst on Latin America at the Heritage Foundation; and General (ret.) Carlos Ospina, General (ret.), CHDS Chief of Defense Chair/Professor of National Security Affairs.
The panel moderator, Mr. Eric Farnsworth, gave a nuanced and thought-provoking introduction to the discussion. Providing the first perspective, AMB Carlos Urrutia, 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 outlined several terms and opportunities for successful negotiations between the two parties. Dr. Ray Walser 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.