Center for American Progress

RELEASE: The United States and Colombia: The Past 15 Years, the Next 15 Years
Press Release

RELEASE: The United States and Colombia: The Past 15 Years, the Next 15 Years

Washington, D.C. — Colombia stands on the verge of sealing a historic peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, that would be an end to nearly 50 years of internal armed conflict. This milestone represents the culmination of a more than 15-year effort to transform Colombia from a nearly failed state, considered one of the most dangerous places on the planet, into a secure and economically strong nation ready to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

The Center for American Progress has released an issue brief outlining how the United States and Colombia—over the course of three different presidential administrations in each country—have worked as partners to conduct the most successful counterinsurgency in the 21st century.

“The U.S.-Colombia partnership is an excellent example of how a long-term plan between the United States and a struggling country can work,” said Dan Restrepo, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the brief. “Through Colombian hard work and sacrifice and catalytic economic and security cooperation with the United States, Colombia has been transformed from the murder capital of the world into a country whose security and economic strength is only growing. Work remains to be done to ensure that gains are felt by all Colombians, but on the eve of President Juan Manuel Santos’ visit to the United States, it is important to look at what we can learn and apply to other troubled countries.”

In addition to looking back at the lessons from the past decade and a half of cooperation and the challenges that remain, the brief examines the opportunities presented for the two countries to work as partners in peace in Colombia and as regional and global partners on a wide array of issues that affect the daily lives of people in each country and beyond.

Click here to read the brief.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.