This week, a clear majority of Colombians picked a new president in a peaceful, democratic election. This an extraordinary achievement. One of us served as special envoy to the Americas for President Clinton, and helped organize the first Summit of the Americas almost 25 years ago. The other spent decades in the Foreign Service, and from 2001 to 2004 served as President Bush’s ambassador to the UN. We can both clearly remember a time when Colombia was on the brink of becoming a failed state.
Consider the situation today. Colombia boasts a strong democracy, a vibrant economy and ever-improving prospects for peace. Moreover, with incoming President-elect Ivan Duque at the helm, Colombia will have a chance to build on its considerable progress, writing the most productive chapter yet in the history of U.S.-Colombian relations.
However, we cannot take anything for granted. Realizing Colombia’s full potential will require smart, strategic choices by the incoming administration there, the current American administration and the private sectors of both countries.