Distinguished Practitioners

Is Colombia’s Long War Drawing to an End?

November 3, 2015

On November 3, 2015, Special Envoy to the Colombian Peace Process Bernard Aronson joined Ramon Escobar, ISD Rusk Fellow for a discussion: “Is Colombia’s Long War Drawing to an End?”

This event was co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies. Aronson helped promote the first successful democratic elections in Nicaragua and an end to the contra war and a negotiated settlement of the war in El Salvador. In addition during Aronson’s tenure: Panama was liberated from the dictatorial rule of General Manuel Noriega; the United States helped Colombia defeat Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel; Latin America emerged from both the debt crisis and the lost decade; NAFTA was negotiated; Argentina and Brazil put their nuclear programs under IAEA safeguards; Peru defeated, with U.S. assistance, Sendero Luminoso; and the OAS unanimously adopted the Santiago Declaration committing its member states to the collective defense of democracy.

Bernard Aronson served as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs from 1989 to 1993. He was a Democrat serving in a Republican Administration under President George Herbert Walker Bush. President Bill Clinton asked Aronson to continue in his post until his successor was confirmed. During his first weeks at the State Department Assistant Secretary Aronson helped negotiate the Bi-Partisan Accord on Central America which united Congress and the Executive, Democrats and Republicans behind a common regional policy.
Aronson helped promote the first successful democratic elections in Nicaragua and an end to the contra war and a negotiated settlement of the war in El Salvador. In addition during Aronson’s tenure: Panama was liberated from the dictatorial rule of General Manuel Noriega; the United States helped Colombia defeat Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel; Latin America emerged from both the debt crisis and the lost decade; NAFTA was negotiated; Argentina and Brazil put their nuclear programs under IAEA safeguards; Peru defeated, with U.S. assistance, Sendero Luminoso; and the OAS unanimously adopted the Santiago Declaration committing its member states to the collective defense of democracy.

Ramon Escobar joined the Foreign Service nine years ago and has served in a diverse range of tours covering issues in the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America. In his last assignment, Ramon served on the Colombia Desk where he was primarily responsible for assisting Bernard Aronson, Special Envoy to the Colombia Peace Process, in his efforts to help end Latin America’s longest-running conflict. Before the Special Envoy was appointed in February 2015, Ramon was responsible for U.S.-Colombia cooperation on economic, energy, labor, and environment issues.