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Council Launches Blue-Ribbon Commission to Craft Urgently Needed New Strategy for Colombia and the Andes

May 6, 2003
Council on Foreign Relations

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MAY 6, 2003 - The Center for Preventive Action, a Council on Foreign Relations conflict prevention initiative, has launched a new Commission to make concrete recommendations for mitigating deadly conflict and addressing the long-term challenges of the Andean region. "Andes 2020: A New Strategy for the Challenges of Colombia and the Region," will focus principally on economic development, democracy and the rule of law, and security.

“In a time of crisis around the world, we cannot forget that serious problems exist on our own doorstep. By focusing now on Colombia and the Andes, the Council’s Center for Preventive Action is doing the sort of thinking that should be done to prevent major regional problems from becoming international crises,” said Council President Leslie H. Gelb.

The crisis in Colombia is the most serious U.S. national security threat in the hemisphere. While the war there is becoming bloodier and more widespread every day, the spillover effects from the conflict exacerbate the existing instability in Venezuela and pose significant security threats to neighbors Ecuador and Peru and regional partner Bolivia. The Andean region’s populations now face a severe economic crisis and are increasingly disenchanted with democratic and market reforms.

The Commission is co-chaired by Lieutenant General Dan W. Christman, USA, (Ret.), president of the Kimsey Foundation, and the Honorable John G. Heimann, of the Financial Stability Institute. Julia E. Sweig, Council Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of Latin America Studies, directs the project.

The Center for Preventive Action develops and promotes strategies to pre-empt or mitigate deadly conflicts. CPA Commissions identify outside “stakeholders”—governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the business community—in conflict situations and analyze their interests in order to fashion strategies with specific, tangible recommendations and associated incentives (“carrots and sticks”) which strengthen those who pursue the peaceful resolution of disputes while weakening those who espouse violence.

The Commission plans to issue its report by fall 2003.

Established in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is a nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank, dedicated to increasing America’s understanding of the world and contributing ideas to U.S. foreign policy. The Council accomplishes this mainly by promoting constructive debates and discussions, clarifying world issues, and publishing Foreign Affairs, the leading journal on global issues.

COMMISSION MEMBERS:

Bernard Aronson
Chairman & Partner, ACON Investments
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

Nancy Birdsall
President
Center for Global Development
Former Executive Vice President, Inter-American Development Bank

Nelson Cunningham
Managing Director
Kissinger McLarty & Associates
Former Chief of Staff to the Special Envoy for the Americas

Ian Davis
VP, International Affairs
Occidental Petroleum Corp.

Mathea Falco
President, Drug Strategies
Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law

George Folsom
President, International Republican Institute

Sergio J. Galvis
Partner, Sullivan & Cromwell

Anthony Harrington
Stonebridge International LLC
Former US Ambassador to Brazil

H. Allen Holmes
Georgetown University
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict

Alberto Ibarguen
Publisher, Miami Herald

Edward Jardine
President, Andean Region
Procter & Gamble

William L. Nash
Director, Center for Preventive Action
Council on Foreign Relations

Mark Schneider
Senior Vice President
International Crisis Group
Former Director of Peace Corps and Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, US Agency for International Development

Barbara Shailor
Director of International Affairs
AFL-CIO

George Soros
Chairman, Soros Fund Management

Alec Watson
Managing Director, Hills & Company
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

Charles Wilhelm
Vice President, Battelle Corporation
Retired Commander in Chief, U.S. Southern Command

Jonathon Winer
Alston & Bird
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement

Arturo Valenzuela
Georgetown University
Former Special Assistant to the President for Inter-American Affairs, National Security Council

James D. Zirin
Partner
Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, LLP
Former Deputy U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York

COMMISSION OBSERVERS

Fulton Armstrong
National Intelligence Officer for Latin America
National Intelligence Council

Olivier Carduner
Director, Office of South American Affairs
US Agency for International Development

Phil Chicola
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Western Hemisphere Affairs
U.S. Department of State

James LeMoyne
Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for Colombia
United Nations

Carl Meacham
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Office of Senator Richard Lugar

Janice O’Connell
Professional Staff Member
Office of Senator Christopher Dodd

Robert Orr
Vice President and Director of Washington Office
Council on Foreign Relations

Rogelio Pardo-Maurer
Deputy Assistant Security
Western Hemisphere Affairs
U.S. Department of Defense

Linda Robinson

Senior Writer
U.S. News & World Report

Thomas Shannon
Senior Director,
Western Hemisphere Affairs
National Security Council

COMMISSION STAFF

Julia Sweig
Project Director
Council on Foreign Relations

Michael McCarthy
Council on Foreign Relations

Katie Jennings
Council on Foreign Relations

Jeremy Weinstein
Brookings Institution


Contact: Lisa Shields, Vice President, Communications, (212) 434-9888