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Colombia protests

What is happening in Colombia? A conversation with experts

Date: Monday, May 24

Time: 12 p.m. MST

Location: YouTube

For the past two weeks, Colombia has seen massive street demonstrations. Notwithstanding being overwhelmingly peaceful, the protests were met with violence. Domestic and international NGOs have reported at least 55 people dead and hundreds of people injured. Despite these numbers, people are still in the streets voicing grievances that vastly outweigh the tax reform that originally sparked the demonstrations. In this conversation we will discuss the underlying problems that have led people to protest in Colombia, the government’s response to these (and other) mobilizations, and the potential pathways that all the actors involved could take to start resolving the conflict.


Laura Gamboa


Dr. Laura Gamboa is an assistant professor at the University of Utah. She has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research agenda focuses on institutions, democratic backsliding, and electoral behavior in Latin America. Her book manuscript analyzes opposition strategies against the erosion of democracy, focusing on the cases of Alvaro Uribe in Colombia and Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. Dr. Gamboa’s work has been published in Comparative Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Journal of Democracy and other academic journals.

Angelica Duran-Martinez


Dr. Angélica Durán-Martínez is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Brown University, an M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Her research interests include the relations between organized crime, violence, and the state in Latin America, drug policy, and the interconnections between criminal and political violence. Her research has received funding from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the Social Science Research Council (IDRF-SSRC), the Open Society Foundation through the Drugs, Security, and Democracy fellowship, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. She is the author of “The Politics of Drug Violence: Criminals, Cops, and Politicians in Colombia and Mexico” (Oxford University Press, 2018), winner of the best book prize from the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime, and of the Peter Katzenstein book award for best first book in international relations, comparative politics, or political economy. She has also published several book chapters and articles in numerous journals including Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, Latin American Politics and Society, Comparative Political Studies, and Crime, Law and Social Change. She has taught at UMass Lowell since 2013. 

Juan Albarracin


Dr. Juan Albarracín is the director of the Political Science Program and assistant profesor of political science at Universidad Icesi in Cali, Colombia. He has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame, as well as a Masters in Comparative Politics from the Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen (Germany). His research interests include criminal governance, political and criminal violence, transitional justice, and electoral and party politics.

Laura Garcia Montoya


Dr. Laura García Montoya  is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice and the Department of Politics at Princeton University. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University in September 2020. In her dissertation, "Trapped by Inequality: The Politics of Redistribution in Latin America", she identifies the causes of economic inequality traps -i.e., high and persistent levels of economic inequality- in Latin America and explain how and why some countries manage to escape such traps and embark on paths of diminishing inequality.

Last Updated: 11/4/21