Until May, Ariel Ávila ran the Conflict Observatory at the Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris, a prominent Bogotá security think tank. He wrote their much-cited annual analyses of FARC activity, and carried out research on urban crime and political leaders’ ties to organized crime. Mr. Ávila’s 2012 book on security in Colombia’s Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama border regions, La Frontera Caliente, made Colombia’s bestseller lists last year.
Mr. Ávila’s work has placed him in some danger, and he is spending time in Washington as a result of recent threats.
The discussion touched on:
- Recent trends in Colombia’s armed conflict and public security situation
- Urban security and criminality (especially in the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali)
- Corruption and violence in rural areas, and the challenges to carrying out peace accords and land restitution in these zones.
Adam Isacson, WOLA’s senior associate for regional security policy, offered comments and moderated.