To most U.S. citizens Medellin is code for all that is wrong with Latin America - the lawlessness, the drugs, the delusion that a network of thugs substitutes for a real economy. Congress feels about the same way- the approval of a bilateral free trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia is in doubt. Amity Shlaes writes that a recent trip to this city found a powerful turnaround that argues not only for endorsing the FTA, but also taking a second look at the region.
Under President Alvaro Uribe's "democratic security" initiative, data suggests security in Colombia has improved significantly. But the country remains the world's biggest producer of cocaine, the rebel group FARC controls many rural areas, and paramilitaries show signs of regrouping.
Sunday's easy victory by President Álvaro Uribe in Colombia provides an exception to the recent leftward trend in Latin America. Yet experts say it is too simplistic to cast a center-right victory in strife-torn Colombia as an ebbing of the prevailing tide.
Incumbent President Alvaro Uribe is favored to win Colombia's May 28 elections, a result that would mark a departure from the trend that has seen left-leaning governments come to power around the region.
In November 1999, the Council on Foreign Relations and Inter-American Dialogue established an independent task force to review and offer recommendations on U.S. policy toward Colombia. The cochairs of the task force have decided to issue this interim report to make an impact on deliberations in Congress, as well as respond to an immediate opportunity to shape the current debate about U.S. policy.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »