Luncheon and Discussion with Colombian Ambassador Francisco Santos
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“Colombia – United States Relations: Today and Tomorrow”
Colombia is one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. The United States and Colombia share a commitment to promoting security, prosperity, and democratic governance in Colombia and across the Western Hemisphere. Today though a vibrant democracy and a growing market oriented economy, Colombia under the guidance of President Ivan Duque’s government faces major internal and external challenges, and the Venezuelan crisis has added a layer of civic turmoil to a nation already facing monumental challenges.
According to the United Nations, 1.4 million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia. Historically, Colombia has always been generous with its neighbor, Venezuela, but a half century of dealing with internal insurrection has diminished its capacity to deal with one of the worse humanitarian crises in regional history.
About Ambassador Francisco Santos:
Ambassador Santos is a former Vice President of Colombia (2002-2010); journalist, political, and citizen participation activist.
Head of national debate of the Democratic Center Party in 2017, he ran for Mayor of Bogota on the Democratic Center Party ticket in 2015. He created the Fundación Confianza Colombia, promoting democracy and citizen participation in public affairs, as well as developing ideas in the political, economic and social spheres.
As Vice President during the Uribe administration, his policy priorities were the fight against corruption, extortion and kidnapping and ridding the country of anti-personnel mines. In that role, he also led Colombia’s international promotion of trade, investment and tourism.
Due to threats from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), he was exiled in Madrid, Spain, for two years (2000-2002). Previous to that, in 1990 Santos was kidnapped for eight months on orders from drug trafficker Pablo Escobar. He founded the world’s first NGO against kidnapping, Fundación País Libre and promoted the Anti-Kidnapping Statute, the first and, to date, only law proposed and tabled by public petition via signature collection in Colombia.
Lunch is provided with registration.