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During Duque's visit to Trump, apart from the central issues, the possibility of a military intervention in Colombia was raised
On February 13, President Iván Duque met with his US counterpart to discuss two important issues: the current situation in Venezuela and the need to eradicate illicit crops in Colombia.
Leer en español: Iván Duque y su paso por Estados Unidos
The two presidents agreed on the need to "liberate Venezuela from the dictatorship" of Nicolás Maduro, as El Nacional affirms. Similarly, they referred to the Maduro government's impediment to admit humanitarian aid. This aid was sent by the government of the United States at the request of the interim president, Juan Guaidó, and needs to enter through the only bridge on the border between Colombia and Venezuela, which is still open for transportation.
Given this, Duque referred to this fact, "Colombia has offered and will continue to offer its territory for the arrival of humanitarian aid. And we make a clear call for the international community to understand that preventing access to humanitarian aid is a crime against humanity on behalf of the dictator Nicolás Maduro", according to El Periódico.
Likewise, Donald Trump affirmed that "we will see that many things are happening in Venezuela, people do not know. There's a lot of support for what we're doing, for the people we're talking about, a lot of support", according to CNN.
As expected, Nicolás Maduro described the meeting as "a feast of hatred" and called for "the solidarity of the world against what he considers 'threats' of the United States," as stated by El Nuevo Herald. According to the same media, he also asked the Venezuelan people to "join the Bolivar Plaza to sign the document that we are going to take to Washington to demand that Donald Trump get his hands out of Venezuela."
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On the other hand, and as the second main issue on the agenda, Colombia continues to be one of the main countries in producing and exporting drugs; just as the United States is one of the countries with the highest rate of illegal substance use .
In this regard, Duque said that throughout his term of office, "around 60,000 hectares of illicit crops (...) have been eradicated, many more than those that were eradicated in the last six months. We have an objective and we are committed. It is our moral duty for Colombia to be drug-free", the president said at a press conference.
Faced with this, Trump said that "we are working together so that Colombia eradicates something that they are cultivating. At this moment I would not say that they are going (fulfilling) before the programmed, but I hope that they do it at some time, in the near future ". Similarly, Senator Marco Rubio spoke on the matter and stated that from the Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) of the United States Department of State, must be prepared a budget to help Colombia with the eradication of crops, as assured by El Espectador.
However, one of the points in the press conference that generated the most controversy was the possible arrival of US military troops in Colombian territory. Already in past days the State Councilor, John Bolton, in an oversight, showed the annotation of "5,000 soldiers for Colombia". Faced with this figure and being asked, Trump only managed to respond with a "We'll see", followed by a silence from Duque.
In the middle of that framework, Cuba denounced that it had witnessed several military flights that had flown over the island, as RCN states. Through a statement, the Foreign Ministry of that country said that "Between February 6 and 10, 2019, there have been flights of military transport aircraft (...) the United States prepared a military adventure disguised as 'humanitarian intervention' in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. "
#Cuba denuncia movimientos de fuerzas de operaciones especiales de #EEUU hacia aeropuertos de Puerto Rico, República Dominicana y otras islas del Caribe, sin conocimiento de sus gobiernos. Continúa la preparación de una agresión militar contra #Venezuela con pretexto humanitario.— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) 14 de febrero de 2019
However, Duque said that troops are not being mobilized, but what is entering Colombia are medicines and food. "What there is is a great global movement for the liberation of Venezuela, what there is is a great desire to bring humanitarian aid for how many people who are suffering all those horrors of the dictatorship and who are suffering from hunger can get out of that tragedy", affirmed the president.
Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Colombian Foreign Minister, also stated that "humanitarian aid does not have any military element and, on the contrary, it is a joint action to change things in Venezuela," according to El Heraldo.
On the other hand, if there is a real military intervention, both Venezuela and Colombia would be the most affected countries, because they would be the scenarios where the war, if any, would develop.
For Juan Gabriel Tokatlian, an expert in International Relations and co-founder of the Center for International Studies of the University of Los Andes and in dialogue with Semana, it is "a psychological war (...) I do not think that is on the agenda, the least immediate, of the Trump government. And I do not think Colombia lends itself. I do not think that the military wants, I do not think that your civil society wants and I do not think that the political parties want to embark on that adventure if it were to happen", he concludes.
LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz
Translated from "Iván Duque y su paso por Estados Unidos"