Navigating Colombia’s Polarized Politics


Event Summary This event has passed.

On May 27th, Colombia votes in the first round of a pivotal presidential election. Driven by voter discontent with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and distrust of traditional political parties, the field is crowded with scores of candidates from across the ideological spectrum—most running as independents. Polls show the election is fluid and wide open.

Still, behind the unsettled horse race is a set of pressing and serious challenges. Colombia’s next president will have to find a way to fight corruption and organized crime, stem the growing tide of coca production, jump start economic growth, and effectively manage the difficult implementation of the peace accord with the FARC. Perhaps above all, the country’s once solid political consensus is badly frayed; what are the prospects for reducing polarization in Colombia and achieving greater national unity and purpose moving forward? For a discussion of the country’s main challenges, the Inter-American Dialogue is pleased to welcome a distinguished panel of Colombian analysts and political figures.

Follow this event on Twitter at #ColombiaDialogue and @The_Dialogue.

Please note that this event will be held in Spanish.


Marta Lucía Ramírez

Former Defense Minister and current presidential candidate (@mluciaramirez)

Catalina Botero

Dean of the Law School, Universidad de los Andes (@cboteromarino)

Fernando Cepeda Ulloa

Professor, Universidad de los Andes, former UN Permanent Representative of Colombia 

Rodrigo Pardo

Editorial Director, Revista Semana and former Foreign Minister (@RPardoGP)


Michael Shifter

President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter)