Since the arrival of Gustavo Petro to the presidency of Colombia, the president has maintained a relationship of allies and adversaries with the United States.
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: La relación tóxica entre Gustavo Petro y Estados Unidos
President Gustavo Petro has an ambiguous relationship with the United States. Since he arrived in office, the leftist president has tried to maintain a healthy distance or a toxic relationship. On some occasions, it seems that the Colombian government intends to maintain closeness with Washington, but on other occasions, it sends a confrontational discourse that is more similar to that used by socialist governments.
Since taking office, Petro has made constant announcements that he would demonstrate a clear distance between Washington and Bogotá. A new approach to the war against drugs, a greater responsibility of the government of the global north in environmental matters, or against the intervention of the United States in South American politics.
However, there have also been a series of winks between the Colombian president and the United States. Since his explicit support during the US elections. When the Colombian was a senator, he said that if he could vote in the US presidential elections between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, he would surely do it for the former vice president. Since then the dialogue between the two has been, at least, positive.
Colombia Humana And The Democratic Party
One of the factors that explain how a former guerrilla with a Colombian socialist ideology can be an ally of a Democratic politician is the ideological closeness beyond the economic one. Biden, despite representing the Democratic establishment, a career politician who has always been close to power and who at the time supported international interventions, wars, a free market, and a model of consumption, today is the visible head of a Democratic party that lives an ideological shift.
Currently, voices within the party are openly socialists, environmentalists, and feminists, three pillars of Gustavo Petro's politics. This is why, even though the House of Nariño and the White House do not share several policies, they do find an important ally in both parties.
The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend
However, one of the most valuable elements that explain the relationship between Gustavo Petro and Biden is Donald Trump and the American extreme right. Today, beyond having crucial differences between the two models, Petro understands that a Democratic ally is better than the North American extreme right returning to power.
The Colombian right has found an important alliance with Trump and the Republican party since now the Democratic party can see a clear space to work in the rest of the Colombian political spectrum.
Before, in Colombia where the left had never won, a bipartisan policy was maintained. Both Republicans and Democrats found an ally in Colombia, regardless of the president. But, lately, the donkey party has found greater proximity to socialist movements throughout Latin America. This is what happened in the Andean country, environmental and feminist policies have been the basis of relations between these two groups. Even more when social democratic candidates in the United States acquire greater power in the Democratic party.
But it was not until Donald Trump came to power that the alliances have been more clearly defined. Trump was a climate change denier, an enemy of Latino migration, and a clear enemy of socialist policies in Latin America. This has led to the understanding that governments like Gabriel Boric or Gustavo Petro find in Joe Biden a minimum closeness that allows them to put aside the hatred of the past and find an intermediate field in which they can cooperate.
The Relationship With Venezuela
Venezuela is one of the evident fields of this dual relationship between Colombia and the United States. Since the presidential campaign, Gustavo Petro promised to reestablish bilateral relations between the South American countries. As soon as he arrived at the Casa de Nariño, Petro fulfilled his promise and it seems that he will be one of the important allies of Nicolás Maduro.
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Although this action seems to go against the international policy commanded by the United States, today it is the opposite. The flexibility of the pressure on the Maduro regime has been planned from the north, it is not something exclusive to Colombia. A few days ago, the Colombian ambassador in Caracas, Armando Benedetti, even confirmed that "what has been done in Venezuela has been consulted with the United States." This shows that Gustavo Petro has clear intentions to cooperate with Biden and understands pragmatism (very typical of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico).
The Role Of Colombia In International Matters
What has surprised many most is the position that Petro's Colombia has had in international matters. On the one hand, as soon as Bogotá took possession, it was surprised by recognizing Western Sahara as an independent country. This was an innovative position for the role that Colombia has maintained in matters of the international system.
However, the abstention of Colombia in the vote of the UN General Assembly that intends to ask the International Court to issue an advisory opinion on the Israeli occupation of Palestine was also unexpected. Within Petro's government, various officials have expressed their support for the Palestinian cause, which is why the abstention vote can be understood as a way of maintaining good relations between Colombia, Washington, or Israel itself, important historical allies of Colombia and which Petro, it seems, intends to maintain.