"Regional Security in the Andes"
On November 17–18, 2008, the Latin American Program's project on Creating Community in the Americas and the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito, Ecuador, convened a group of defense experts to discuss security issues in the Andes and their implications for regional security as a whole. The event in Quito took place in the context of heightened tensions along the Colombia-Ecuador border. The two countries severed relations in mid-2008 following a Colombian military raid into Ecuadoran territory that killed a senior FARC commander, Raúl Reyes.
The seminar was organized around four thematic panels and two general panels open to the public. The first panel on the Colombia–Ecuador crisis and security policies examined the bilateral confrontation and its internal, transnational and exogenous factors; the regional impact of Colombia's democratic security policy; and Plan Ecuador and the security cooperation between Ecuador and other countries of the region.
The second panel considered sub-regional security strategies, including the role of Venezuela and security problems in North America involving the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
The third panel focused on factors of insecurity, including narcotrafficking, the trans-border impact of violence, and the security implications of natural resource exploitation and climate change.
Contributors to the fourth panel touched on the political dimensions of security, including such issues as arms purchases by regional governments and civil-military relations. Others addressed the regional role of the South American Defense Council, the security policies of the United States, and questions of regional integration and interstate conflict.