story

Colombia, Venezuela Presidents Meet As Ties Keep Improving

    Colombia, Venezuela Presidents Meet As Ties Keep Improving
    Updated Nov 02, 2022
    Image credit: AFP/Getty Images [via Washington Post]

    Facts

    • On Tuesday, Colombian Pres. Gustavo Petro and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro held talks in Venezuela's capital Caracas in their first meeting since the two countries resumed diplomatic relations after a three-year break.[1]
    • During their meeting, which Maduro deemed "fruitful and extensive," they agreed to improve trade and security cooperation. They also discussed a possible joint production of fertilizers and Venezuela's re-entry to the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) trade bloc, which it left in 2006.[2]
    • Other issues addressed included migration, Venezuela's possible reintegration into the inter-American human rights system, the protection of the Amazon rainforest, and Latin America's "democratic construction."[3]
    • The first visit by a Colombian president to Caracas since 2013 comes as Petro, the first leftist to hold this position, took office vowing to mend relations with Venezuela, and after both countries reopened their shared border in September.[3]
    • Venezuela's US-recognized leader Juan Guaidó warned Tuesday that former guerrilla Petro's visit could "dangerously normalize" alleged human rights abuses in Venezuela. In September, a UN committee reported that it found evidence that Caracas committed crimes against humanity to crush dissent.[4]
    • Meanwhile, as national and international support for Guaidó reportedly wanes, the Biden admin. is said to have discussed lifting a series of oil sanctions against Venezuela after a rare visit by US officials to the country in March.[5]

    Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Colombia's rapprochement with Venezuela is a major blow to the US administration. Prior to Petro, Colombia served as a NATO outpost to advance US geopolitical and military interests in the region. The election of leftist governments across Latin America is now pushing back Washington's influence, paving the way for people-serving economic integration and lasting regional peace.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    With the election of the Marxist Petro as Colombia's new president, the US has lost its most important military ally in the region. That Bogotá is now opening up to the Maduro dictatorship with its criminal ties to Russia, China, and Iran, and that both governments are now dreaming of socialist economic regional integration, is a dangerous development, and Washington must not stand by idly.

    Articles on this story