As a close U.S. ally in the region, Colombia’s competitive May 29 presidential elections will undoubtedly have important implications for the longstanding bilateral relationship. The next Colombian administration will face a host of issues, including: ongoing security challenges; the implementation of the 2016 FARC peace accord; opportunities for private sector investment, infrastructure development and poverty alleviation; counternarcotics efforts; urban unrest and strikes; climate change and the environment; and Colombia’s relations with neighboring Venezuela. At a townhall event, Colombia’s principal vice-presidential candidates — who represent Colombia’s rich and dynamic political spectrum — discussed their respective policy plans to address these challenges and visions for the country’s future.
The Equipo por Colombia coalition has opted to organize a separate subsequent visit to Washington with its presidential candidate Federico Gutiérrez. However, Vice-Presidential Candidate Rodrigo Lara may still contribute virtually to this townhall.
On May 13, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin American Program hosted this townhall, which provided the opportunity for the candidates to answer questions from the audience and clarify campaign positions for both the broader Washington policy community as well as the Colombian diaspora.
Vice-Presidential Candidate, Liga de Gobernantes Anticorrupción (Candidate: Rodolfo Hernández)
Vice-Presidential Candidate, Pacto Histórico (Candidate: Gustavo Petro)
Luis Gilberto Murillo
Vice-Presidential Candidate, Centro Esperanza (Candidate: Sergio Fajardo)
Steve Hege, moderator
Deputy Director, Latin America Program, U.S. Institute of Peace
Cynthia Arnson, moderator
Distinguished Fellow, Latin American Program, Woodrow Wilson Center
Jason Marczak, moderator
Senior Director, Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, Atlantic Council