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On November 17, the Dialogue cosponsored an event with General Oscar Naranjo, Vice President of Colombia. During the conversation, which took place at the Wilson Center, General Naranjo discussed the new economic and social opportunities that the peace process will make available to the country. According to the Vice President, “Without the conflict with the FARC, Colombia is experiencing the lowest murder rate in 42 years.” In his opinion, the agreement to end hostilities has the potential to be the most effective peace agreement that has been signed in Colombia in the past five decades.
Regarding the fight against drug trafficking, Vice President Naranjo commented that during meetings with US officials, the usual recommendations to perform aerial spraying in rural areas to prevent the cultivation of coca — a rather controversial measure among the inhabitants of the rural areas of Colombia — were not made. In addition, he pointed out that Colombian authorities currently confiscate 43% of drugs produced within Colombia. Without the conflict with the FARC, the military and police will have increased capacity to further raise those numbers. The same is true for other crimes, such as kidnapping, where historically low rates are now being recorded.
In terms of economics and equity, peace brings the opportunity to narrow the gap between the inhabitants of urban areas and rural areas. Naranjo explained, “This accord is a framework that will allow [Colombia] to focus on territorial peace in order to overcome inequalities and shortfalls, to bring more state presence to the territories, and at the same time, to introduce the possibility, within a framework of ethics and politics, for all citizens to have access, without distinction, to rights, goods, and services.”