Biden Hosts Colombia Leader Petro At White House

    Biden Hosts Colombia Leader Petro At White House
    Last updated Apr 21, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]


    • On Thursday, US Pres. Joe Biden hosted his Colombian counterpart Gustavo Petro for talks amid mounting differences on drug policy and Venezuela but with a common goal of enhancing cooperation on areas such as climate change and migration.[1]
    • Speaking to the press, Petro stressed the continental potential for democracy, freedom, and green energies, while Biden vowed to strengthen bilateral cooperation, including to fight international drug trafficking.[2]
    • The US president also praised Colombia for the hospitality it has been offering to the some 2M Venezuelan refugees living in the country, promising to work closely with regional partners to support Bogotá in this issue.[3]
    • This meeting comes eight months into Petro's government, which has created an unprecedented challenge for the US in its dealing with Colombia as he is the country's first non-US aligned, leftist president.[4]
    • Though Petro has urged the Biden admin. to revise its approach to the war on drugs and lift sanctions imposed on Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro's regime, the US sees cooperation with Colombia as vital to ensure a democratic, prosperous, and united Western Hemisphere.[5]
    • The ideological rift between both countries has been clear as Colombia seeks to fully reintegrate Cuba and Venezuela into the inter-American system while remaining neutral in the Ukraine War.[6]


    Left narrative

    While a wide variety of hot issues were discussed in this meeting, including climate change and drug policy, it's undeniable that Petro urging the Biden admin. to end its unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela was the most important. The only way out of the decade-long Venezuelan crisis is putting forward an election timeline, reintegrating Caracas into the inter-American system, and gradually deactivating sanctions.

    Right narrative

    Some claim that Latin America has been lured into deepening ties with autocratic countries in the hope of playing a prominent role on the global stage. A closer look, however, reveals that the Biden admin. has wasted time by engaging with leaders like Petro, who support dictatorships and narco-trafficking, in an attempt to promote democracy and fair elections in Venezuela. Petro's upcoming Bogotá Summit has a clear goal: to legitimize Maduro.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 40% chance that there will be a civil war in Venezuela before 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Political split



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