Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews and five years on the ground in Colombia, McFarland Sánchez-Moreno takes our stage to share three interconnected stories Colombians bound by their commitment to the truth—journalists and investigators who sent prophetic warnings of military complicity, spread groundbreaking revelations of congressional conspiracy, and published truths undermining a corrupt president’s propaganda. In a sobering yet urgent discussion of a nation’s institutionalized abuse of power, McFarland Sánchez-Moreno gives her account of the brutality and corruption that swept like a lethal virus through Columbia’s society and political system—and the slow but inexorable ways the country is breaking free from the paramilitaries’ grip.
Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno is the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. For thirteen years McFarland Sánchez-Moreno held several positions at Human Rights Watch, including as the organization’s senior Americas researcher, covering Colombia and Peru, and as the co-director of its US program. During her tenure at Human Rights Watch, McFarland Sánchez-Moreno lead teams advocating against racial discrimination in policing, excessive sentencing, and unfair deportation policies that tear families apart, all issues closely intertwined with the United States’ approach to drugs.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Phinney Neighborhood Association as part of the Civics series.