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A Conversation with Colombian Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzón

Juan Carlos Pinzón, Ambassador of Colombia to the US
Tom Keaney, Associate Director of Strategic Studies and Executive Director of the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies
Riordan Roett, Director of the Latin American Studies Program

December 6, 2016

Two weeks after Colombia passed an historic peace deal to resolve its conflict with armed guerrilla groups dating back more than 50 years, Colombia's ambassador to the United States and former Johns Hopkins SAIS student, Juan Carlos Pinzón, returned to the Washington, DC campus to discuss the peace deal, trade, and US-Colombia relations.

Pinzón pointed to the Colombian peace process as an exemplary model for conflict resolution. The strategy was about disarming, demobilizing, and reintegrating the rebels as fellow Colombians. Pinzón explained that the government's approach was not penal justice, but transitional justice based on reconciliation. Going forward, Pinzón said Colombia will work to build greater consensus on the terms of the deal and to integrate the rebels into the political process.

Responding to questions from students and from moderators Professor Keaney and Professor Roett, Pinzón commented on his experience leading the military transition from counterinsurgency to peacekeeping, Colombian efforts to promote free trade pacts, relations with China, the challenges posed by economic distress in neighboring Venezuela, and future opportunities for coordination with the US.

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