Professor Gives Talk on Colombian Politics and Peace

Monica Pachon, dean of political science and international relations at Del Rosario University in Colombia, visited Amherst to give a talk about peace agreements and the future of democracy in Colombia on Nov. 14 in Paino Lecture Hall.

The event opened with a lecture by Pachon and concluded with a panel. Joining Pachon on the panel were Sebastian Bitar, Loewenstein Fellow and visiting associate professor of political science, and Javier Corrales, professor of political science. Both professors currently teach courses related to policy in Colombia.

Corrales introduced Pachon, describing her as “an incredibly prolific political scientist [and] a specialist on issues such as democracy, decentralization, electoral systems and political reforms.”

Pachon began her lecture with an in-depth analysis of the current turmoil in modern Colombian politics. She discussed the peacemaking process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerilla movement, drug trafficking and drug policy and recent elections in the country.

The lecture also touched on current Colombian policies as well as the hurdles politicians faced while implementing them. Throughout, Pachon depicted current Colombian politics as tumultuous and concluded by saying she was worried about the current Colombian president’s capacity to lead.

After the lecture, Corrales and Bitar asked Pachon for her opinions on a wide range of topics. Audience members also participated in a Q&A session with Pachon.

Memo Rodriguez ’22, who attended the event, said he liked how Pachon “recognized the role of the Venezuelan government in the issue of drug trafficking and security in Colombia as one of the main problems to face in the current years, while also noting that the government can’t take any rushed measures.”

For Jacob Brown ’19, the talk interested him in broader terms. “I appreciated learning about the current situation that’s going on in Columbia. It provides a great deal of insight about other related issues in the region, all of which are central to our understanding to how the narcotics trade works on a global scale,” he said.