As a democratic stronghold in a region synonymous with political instability, Colombia is a critical ally for the United States in Latin America. However, for years, negotiations surrounding a peace deal between the Colombian political establishment and narco-terrorist organizations like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have polarized the nation and hindered relations between leading Colombian officials.
This division was on full display at the Concordia Americas Summit in Bogotá, where former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana delivered a stern, critical address on the state of the nation just hours before current President Juan Manuel Santos vigorously defended his peace plan in a reassuring speech on the deal the has championed from its inception.
Until recently, discussions over the terms of the deal have diverted attention and resources away from necessary efforts to combat drug trafficking, a longstanding problem that has inhibited Colombia’s quest for peace for decades.
Now that the deal has been approved, Colombia should use this moment as an opportunity to revive its crackdown on the narco-trafficking industry that has made peace so elusive for so long.
For decades, a vision dubbed “Plan Colombia” has guided American policy toward Colombia.
The initiative, which was developed by Presidents Bill Clinton & Pastrana, mastered by Bush & Uribe, and maintained by Obama & Santos, has long been the cornerstone of an aggressive stance on drug trafficking, corruption, and more of Colombia’s most pressing issues.
Recently, however, its areas of emphasis have taken a backseat to the country’s peace negotiations, enabling a re-emergence of narco-trafficking during which potential…