On the road in Colombia - Day 1
I've arrived in Colombia to look at whether its success in reducing drugs-related and para-military violence from the terrifying levels of 20 years ago holds any lessons for Mexico and/or Afghanistan.
Former Medellin mayor Sergio Fajardo Valderrama
According to government statistics, the country as a whole has seen a 50 per cent drop in the murder rate over the past decade, and a 90 per cent drop in the number of kidnaps.
How did they do it? Sergio Fajardo took me to see a strikingly modernistic school and a cultural centre in one of Medellin's poorest neighbourhoods, high in the hills above the city centre.
School overlooking Medellin
"This is the secret," he said. "You have to ask why young men choose to go through the door that's opened for them by the drugs cartels and the para-militaries -- a door that leads only to violence and death - and you have to offer them another door, a door to education and opportunity."
Medellin cultural centre
It's all very well killing or capturing the drugs lords, he says, but it won't do any good if they can immediately be replaced.
Not that Colombia's problems are over. The murder rate here in Medellin is climbing again; unemployment levels are as high as they were a decade ago, and income inequality is still greater than almost anywhere else in Latin America.
The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said recently that Mexico is looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago. Sergio Fajardo is a regular visitor to Mexico, where he tells them not to copy Colombia's example but to learn from it.
My reports from here will be on air later in the week - I hope you'll be able to tune in, either on air or online.