On October 3, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, on a week-long trip to Colombia, Chile and Peru, and Colombian President Gustavo Petro, head of Colombia’s new left-wing government, discussed measures to be taken to improve intelligence sharing and related drug trafficking. between the two states, although no agreement has been signed. However, the two countries remain at odds over the extradition of drug criminals, according to Reuters.
Speaking at a press conference, Blinken said that “we [The American Government] strongly support the holistic approach President Petro’s administration is taking to counter narcotics through comprehensive rural security, justice, development, environmental protection, supply reduction as well as demand reduction, including in the United States,” according to the Associated press. Although he described the two countries as “largely in sync”, according to ReutersBlinken also acknowledged the continuing differences over the issue of extradition and the lack of formal agreements on the issues discussed.
Petro, who has been critical of the US “war on drugs”, reiterated that Colombia’s priorities are banning drugs before they leave Colombia and continuing to hunt down those who facilitate drug trafficking.
Historically, Colombia and the United States have had close ties; The United States has backed its longstanding military campaign against drug cartels and in recent years has worked with President Petro’s predecessor, Iván Duque, to isolate Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, according to the New York Times. However, Petro, a former member of an armed urban guerrilla group, has many different positions from those of his predecessor, especially on Venezuela and Cuba, which puts him at odds with US policymakers on issues. key regions.
Speaking on Venezuela, although he agrees with US sentiments describing Maduro as a ‘dictator’, he has also sought to restore Colombian and Venezuelan ties, while President Biden has maintained sanctions. Trump era against Maduro’s government.
The two countries have also found themselves in a dispute over Cuba, with President Petro describing the US designation of Cuba under President Trump as an official state sponsor of terrorism as “an injustice”. [that] needs to be corrected,” according to Reuters.
Although the leaders of the two countries may not find themselves in full agreement on all issues at this time, these discussions with senior officials are extremely important in helping to facilitate better relations between regional neighbors and long-term collaborators. date. They are particularly important in ensuring that relations between historically friendly states endure despite changes in national leadership. Friendly diplomatic relations are one of the foundations of peace in the modern world, and it is good to see that the United States and Colombia are maintaining these relations despite friction over certain political issues.
In conclusion, while it is clear that President Petro and President Biden will have more issues to deal with than their predecessors, it is good to see that both administrations consider the relationship to be important, with President Petro wishing the Secretary good luck Blinken regarding his potential political ambitions going forward upon his departure.