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Elections in Colombia: the main proposals of the candidates in foreign relations

In LatinAmerican Post we bring a recount of the proposals of the candidates to strengthen relations with the rest of the world in case they reach the Presidency of the country .

Gustavo Petro, Federico Gutierrez, Rodolfo Hernandez and Sergio Fajardo

Photos: TW-petrogustavo, TW-FicoGutierrez, TW-ingrodolfohdez, TW-sergio_fajardo

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez Hernández

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Leer en español: Elecciones en Colombia: las principales propuestas de los candidatos en relaciones exteriores

Colombians are just days away from electing their next president. In the competition there are four names that are willing to fight to the end to keep the most important position in that country: the candidate of the Pacto Histórico, Gustavo Petro, who has been leading the polls for more than a year; the record of the Equipo por Colombia, Federico Gutiérrez , who shares second place with Rodolfo Hernández, and Sergio Fajardo , who in recent weeks has not shown any improvement in the intention to vote in Colombia.

However, this reality may change next May 29, taking into account that there are different issues of great caliber that still generate doubts in many voters, who still cannot opt for one or another candidate. International relations is one of these subjects.

Dilemmas loom in the panorama, such as whether or not to reestablish relations with the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, or whether to change or even end, some of the country's most important Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) (such as the that it has with the United States).

For this reason, as has been done with other issues such as pensions or subsidies, LatinAmerican Post compiled the most important proposals, regarding Colombia's foreign relations, of the four candidates who have the best chance of being the replacement of President Iván Duque.

You may also be interested in: Maduro announces another economic war: De-dollarize Venezuela

Gustavo Petro

The leader of the Colombian left, who has shown himself throughout the campaign as the strongest candidate for a possible second round, has two major points on his international agenda: the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Venezuela and the improvement of life for Colombians abroad.

Regarding the first point, during his formal presentation as a presidential candidate on March 23, Petro assured that it is necessary to “normalize relations” with the neighboring country. “We will promote the construction of mechanisms for dialogue in Venezuelan society. Diplomatic relations are not only with a government, but they are also with a society”, he assured.

Regarding the support that nationals residing outside of Colombia will receive, in his government program today's senator expressed the importance of advocating "because every Colombian, regardless of their country of residence, political, social and legal status, be treated on equal terms and have the same opportunities as nationals of the country in which you reside ”; although it did not specify how it will confront variables such as the immigration laws of each country.

Lastly, the document also specified that all of Colombia's FTAs "must be reviewed and renegotiated," in order to create tools that strengthen national productivity, combat climate change, and that are of mutual benefit to other countries regarding the transfer of knowledge and the creation of new jobs in each territory.

Federico Gutierrez

The right-wing candidate has thoughts diametrically opposed to those of Petro, starting with Venezuela. For 'Fico', as he explains in his government plan, the Chavista regime that has created an "anti-democratic nature" in Venezuela "does not make it possible, for the time being, to think of completely normalizing our diplomatic relations" with that country.

On the other hand, instead of changing or revising the international trade agreements, he proposes to take advantage of these agreements to strengthen the national economy, for example, with the United States or the European Union. According to him, the moment of crisis that the world is experiencing, due to situations such as the war in Ukraine, is "an opportunity that we must take advantage of because if the investments are already in the region, it is very likely that they will prefer to remain there before exploring new directions.

He has also spoken of "reestablishing technical and financial cooperation to combat criminal organizations linked to drug trafficking," in addition to promoting the integration of the region from its "leading position as a middle-income country and a member of the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD)”.

"We will promote regional integration and coordination processes (Pacific Alliance, PROSUR, Andean Community of Nations, CARICOM, CELAC, Ibero-American Conference, Latin American Integration Association ALADI, among others)", adds Gutiérrez in his official document.

Rodolfo Hernandez

The 'Engineer' has been one of the candidates who has defended the reestablishment of relations with Venezuela, even having a special section in his government program on this issue: “ From the first day of government, trade relations with Venezuela will be reestablished. The normalization will increase the number of exports of Colombian products to that country, it will reactivate tourism, and projects with a regional impact can be carried out”.

Regarding the FTAs, he assures that what is really important is "not allowing the importation of products when there is sufficient domestic supply in specific lines" of the Colombian economy, since, according to the document, by 2020 Colombia imported more than what it exported.

However, one of the most controversial points on its international agenda is the possible elimination of several embassies and consulates, accusing Colombian diplomats of “vagrancy” in the world and the search for “true austerity.” Thus, some of the embassies or consulates that it would suppress are those of Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Denmark, Philippines, Finland, Hungary, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Turkey, and Uruguay.

Sergio Fajardo

Lastly, the candidate from the Esperanza Center has not expressed a clear intention to resume relations with Venezuela or not, although he did say on March 7 that “on August 8 (after the presidential inauguration) we are going to look for communication channels, but that does not mean that I have sympathy for Maduro ”.

However, his government program focuses more on Colombians abroad, with proposals such as a census for Colombians outside the country, the implementation of digital voting, and improving diplomacy with people from the embassies in each country.