The United States’ Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Colombia trying to unnerve tensions about possible US military intervention in an ongoing crisis in neighboring Venezuela. Pence arrived in the coastal city of Cartagena, just days after Trump had said the US considers military intervention in Venezuela, Colombia’s neighbor to the east. Colombia and a number of other traditional allies of the US in the region rejected the possibility of military intervention and have insisted on dialogue and diplomatic action. Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports
"Colombia’s embrace of peace is a bright spot in a region plagued by violence. Successful reintegration can increase public trust in the peace process, offering lessons for the world on how to manage post-conflict problems. The coming months will tell whether victims and those who made war can turn a new page in the country’s history." The New York Times
From her blog: Colombia Calls. "Love reading, writing, thinking, and working with people to make the world a better place. Family and friends, yoga, travel, photography, perusing dessert menus keep me sane. Latin American enthusiast. Peace practitioner yearning for justice. Heading up the Colombia program at the U.S. Institute of Peace, but tweets and posts are my own". Virginia M. Bouvier, 1958-2017. Rest in peace, friend. In Memoriam: Virginia "Ginny" Bouvier.
"Disaffected groups from both sides of the Middle East divide are opting, apparently, to keep the region on the boil whereas Colombia's FARC militants have decided to bid farewell to their arms in an effort to give the democratic process a try. These are thought-provoking contrasts particularly in view of the fact that both conflicts have been decades-long and grew into full-blown confrontations almost at the same time. Judging by the degree of complexity and ferocity attending the Middle East conflict, the latter problem could be expected to drag on indefinitely whereas the Colombian conflict seems to have proved relatively amenable to rational handling." Lynn Ockersz The Island
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering a seasoned diplomat to be his next envoy to Latin America, according to sources. William Brownfield, a career diplomat who currently leads the State Department’s law enforcement and anti-narcotics efforts [...] The assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, covering Latin America and Canada, could play an outsized role in U.S. foreign policy given the Donald Trump administration’s fixation on immigration issues stemming from Latin America, trade deals with its closest neighbors, and the unraveling crisis in Venezuela. Brownfield is also already well-known in Latin America, having served as U.S. ambassador to Chile, Venezuela, and Colombia over the past 15 years, among other positions. Foreign Policy
Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, in an interview with 'La W Radio' this Friday, spoke about the peace process with FARC, the situation in Venezuela and his friendship with Gabriel García Márquez. The Peruvian writer said that he finds "hope" in the peace agreement reached with the guerrillas of FARC and that, "what's important now is not to sabotage but to push" the agreement. "I believe that all Colombians want the peace process with FARC to work, that peace actually reigns," adding that although "there has been a lot of criticism of the process," it's key "that there are no setbacks but progress ( ...), since peace is clearly a fundamental need for Colombia." El Tiempo
Even as peace talks conclude with Colombia's largest insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), there remains plenty of work left to end insurgency in the country. The Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) will attempt to negotiate a bilateral cease-fire ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Colombia on Sept. 6, according to a July 23 report. The government's negotiators hope the ELN will reciprocate by halting guerrilla attacks against the country's citizens and oil infrastructure. Stratfor Worldview