Building Peace in a Violent Region
Presentation at the Center for Conflict, Negotiation and Recovery,
Central European University
30 January 2014
Oktober 6 u. 7, Room 209, 6.30 pm
Building peace in a violent region: The Colombian peace process in the context of criminal violence in Latin America
The war between the Colombian state and two guerrilla forces is currently the only remaining internal armed conflict in Latin America. Yet several countries in Colombia's neighborhood easily compete with the Andean country's levels of violence. Some, notably Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela top them by far. After five decades of warfare the current peace negotiations between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) represent a realistic chance to end the conflict. However, in the context of the drug trade and other profitable illicit economies, large parts of the guerrilla forces have moved into criminality. Other non-political illegal armed groups abound, many of whom are well connected to similar actors in Central America and Mexico. Against this background, this presentation seeks to respond to the question of how the Colombian peace process can contribute to both ending the political conflict with FARC and preparing the ground for reducing organized crime and violence in the country and the broader region. What lessons can we learn from the Central American peace processes of the 1990s that obviously failed in this respect?
Silke Pfeiffer is a conflict and governance expert with strong regional expertise on Latin America. Based in Bogotá until January 2013, she served as the Colombia/Andes Director for the International Crisis Group, leading the organization's research and advocacy on violence and conflict resolution and prevention in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Her team reported on transitional justice, non-state armed groups, security policies, humanitarian issues, illicit economies as well as governance challenges in the Andes region. Previously, Pfeiffer had been the Americas Director at Transparency International, overseeing the organizations anti-corruption programs and campaigns in North and Latin-America. Pfeiffer has also consulted numerous international development organizations on conflict and governance issues and taught at the Universities of Chile and Potsdam (Germany).