The Inter-American Dialogue, in partnership with the Organization of American States (OAS) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Colombia (FESCOL), hosted the fourth national dialogue on democracy in Chinauta, Cundinamarca, Colombia on April 23-25, 2009. The workshop entitled, Colombia: Dos décadas de la Constitución de 1991, Avances de la representación y retos de la gobernabilidad, convened two groups of distinguished Colombians representing political parties, civil society, academia, business, unions, and the military.
Most participants agreed that national institutions, especially the judiciary, hold true to democratic values. While a consensus emerged that physical security had improved during Alvaro Uribe’s tenure, participants expressed concerns about a third Uribe term. Social justice is also a dimension of overall security which has not been as successfully pursued.
The parapolítica scandals extend beyond the headlines. Corruption, narcotrafficking, and violence permeate Colombian politics. While originating in the conflict between the FARC and the paramilitaries, parapolitics reaches into the state, at the national and regional, and local levels. Nearly ten percent of the Colombian population has been displaced by the conflict. The state has yet to address the grave human rights situation faced by the desplazados.