The Colombian publication Razón Pública today published a new piece by me about the defense and security challenges the country is facing, six days before it swears in a new president. That president will be the first leftist politician in Colombia’s modern history, and his choice to lead the Defense Ministry, Iván Velásquez, is one of Latin America’s best-known anti-corruption fighters.
I argue here that Velásquez is a good choice because he at least stands a credible chance of making progress on three urgent security priorities:
- Combating corruption within the officer corps;
- Increasing government presence in abandoned marginal rural areas where armed groups and coca thrive; and
- Deeply reforming and civilianizing the police.
We’ll be adapting some of the language in this column for a WOLA commentary later this week, which will have an English version.