Saturday, January 28, 2012

Security and Counternarcotics in Colombia: Group Presentation and Ambassador Levitsky Lecture

For the first round of group presentations for IEDP Colombia, the Security and Counternarcotics group discussed the armed conflict in Colombia that has occurred for decades as well as the drug trade that fuels it.  The group briefly discussed the history of the armed conflict from "La Violencia" in the 1940's and 1950's to the formation of the leftist guerilla groups such as the FARC and ELC, and the opposing paramilitary groups.  The group also discussed the incorporation of the drug trade including the Medellin and Cali drug cartels.  It described how Plan Colombia was a U.S.-funded initiative to eliminate illicit narcotics and guerilla groups in Colombia and the results of the initiative.  Lastly, the group introduced recent Colombian presidential administrations and their policies toward security and counternarcotics in Colombia.

The Security and Counternarcotics group was especially thankful to have the Ford School's own Ambassador Melvyn Levitsky add to the discussion in the later half of the session.  A former ambassador to Bulgaria and Brazil and Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters, Amb. Levitsky is the resident expert on counternarcotics policy in Colombia.  In addition to his commentary on security and counternarcotics issues including the drug production cycle, drug-control tactics (including interdiction, eradication, demand side, and alternative development), and major developments in drug control in Colombia, he also provided parallels to counternarcotics issues in Afghanistan, Mexico, Peru, and other regions, and open the lecture for discussion.

-NC

In his presentation on Colombia's drug trade on January 27, 2012, Ambassador Levitsky included interesting details on the cocaine production cycle and trends in trafficking across Latin America over time. The class engaged in an interesting discussion of policy options, including alternative development.

video

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