General (ret.) Carlos Ospina, Chief of Defense Chair and Professor of National Security Affairs, recently published a new book in Colombia titled The Years in Which Colombia Recovered Hope. We sat down with General Ospina to talk about his new publication.
Why did you decide to write this book?
I decided to write this book because I wanted to leave a historic account about the way in which the country was able to become secure again while going through one of its worst governability crises, the production and protection of the civilian population. Colombia was looked as a chaotic nation with little future. The book is focused on the way in which policy and strategy were applied to revert that situation and open a bright future for new generations.
What are the policies and strategies that you write about in your book? Why do you think they were successful?
Democratic security policy was the basis for this recovery. This policy was based on the legal and legitimate protection of the civilian population, that supervises the quality of that protection and that participates unarmed with its own criticisms and observations. Additionally, the sector with the most economic capability finances that security through a special tax that is also supervised by the civilian population. This permits the development of more concrete security plans in all regions of Colombia. Furthermore, it facilitated the creation of the Patriot Plan whose lines of strategic action were able to neutralize the actions of the FARC, put them on the defensive and now, negotiate peace with the government.
What can Colombia teach other countries with similar problems?
Each country has its own characteristics and applying what is good in one is not always convenient. However, in similar cases the recovery of local security is definitive like the support of the legitimacy of the government through it. Furthermore, another one of the lessons learned is that it guarantees the sustainability of a process that generally is prolonged.