Geopolitics in the Andean Region

Mr.
Michael Shifter
, vice-president for policy
and director of the Andean Program at the Inter-American Dialogue, joined us
for a discussion on geopolitics in the Andean region.  There is tension among
Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador stemming from Colombia’s recent encroachment on
Ecuador’s territory during a raid on
a FARC rebel camp.  Ecuador
severed diplomatic ties and, along with Venezuela, responded to the incursion
by building up troops along their border.  Colombia claims that confiscated documents show
Ecuador and
Venezuela provide support to
FARC rebels, who continue to hold numerous hostages, including three
US citizens.  Colombian President
Alvaro Uribe recently agreed to cease military operations against the FARC to
allow a French delegation to attempt to negotiate the release of the
French-Colombian hostage and former presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt. 
How might the U.S. more effectively promote
stability in the region?  What is the role of the international community to
address the hostage situation and the disputes among Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador?  What
is the outlook for future stability and what are the risks for another crisis in
the Andean region?

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