On February 3, the Brookings Latin America Initiative and Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence hosted Mayor Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga of Medellín, Colombia. Once one of the most violent cities in the world, Medellín’s murder rates have declined by 95 percent over the past quarter century. The city has also developed economically and become one of the country’s most desirable locations for residents, as well as travelers and business owners. Yet the city and surrounding regions also remain challenged by powerful drug production and trafficking cartels as well as other criminal networks, problems that will persist even as the Colombian government and FARC begin to implement their recent historic peace deal.
Mayor Gutiérrez provided opening remarks (translated from Spanish) on the remarkable progress, challenges, and opportunities facing Medellín, as well as Colombia and the future of its relationship with the United States during the Trump administration. After Gutiérrez’s remarks, the mayor was joined by Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon for a discussion before taking questions from the audience.
“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.