US President Joe Biden welcomes his President this Thursday Evan Duke Colombia, Washington’s traditional ally, is in the midst of global chaos after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the unexpected arrival of top US officials in Venezuela.
The White House said the two leaders would discuss regional and global issues, including Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified” military invasion of Ukraine, the promotion of democracy and security, and the response to epidemics and regional migration.
“President Biden looks forward to this important meeting to deepen the strategic partnership between the United States and Colombia,” Biden spokesman Jen Socki announced at the meeting days ago.
“At such a challenging moment for humanity, it is very important for Colombia that the US President invites us to this meeting in Washington, an opportunity to commemorate 200 years of our diplomatic relations,” he tweeted. Duke side.
The meeting, scheduled for 1:30 pm at the Oval Office, will focus on climate change and energy change, the fight against drug trafficking, and support for the care of immigrants out of crisis in Venezuela. President of Colombia.
Duke is the second Latin American president to be welcomed at the White House under Biden, after Mexican Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who was in the fray for the North American Summit of Leaders in November.
The arrival of the “sour”?
But, according to Bogot, the arrival of the “deep” Duke could hamper the weekend visit of senior Biden officials to Russia’s ally Venezuela amid rising oil prices due to the war in Ukraine. And before Biden, Russia announced on Tuesday a ban on imports of crude oil and gas.
“If you have banned the oil they call the Russian dictatorship, it is difficult to explain why you are going to buy oil from the Venezuelan dictator,” Duke’s energy minister Diego Mesa told the Financial Times. CERAWeek event of the meeting on Wednesday in Houston.
The same newspaper reported that Duke, a fierce opponent of Maduro, had said that “judging or justifying” was not up to him, but that he would continue to see the Venezuelan president as a “war criminal” or Latin. American version of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.
Biden himself called Maduro, a fugitive from the U.S. judiciary, a “dictator” who was accused of “drug terrorism” in March 2020, and the State Department is offering a $ 15 million reward for his arrest.
But even so, the US presidential delegation met with Maduro – Washington was unaware that his re-election in 2018 was fraudulent – despite the US embargo on Venezuela’s crude oil. April 2019.
A senior Biden official supported the meeting in Caracas, saying it was “the result of months of work,” after which two Americans charged with corruption in Venezuela in 2017 were “released without compensation.” He dismissed Biden’s meeting with the Duke as “sour”.
“I expect the two leaders to have a great conversation,” the official assured reporters anonymously, describing Duque’s comments on CERAWeek as “very restrained”.
“Important ally outside NATO”
Colombia, the only Latin American country that is a NATO global member, immediately aligned itself with the United States in rejecting the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which, according to Duke, “threatens not only its sovereignty but also world peace.”
When asked about the eventual declaration of Colombia as “a key ally of the United States outside NATO”, a senior Biden official declined to speculate.
He said he would just look at the outcome of the meeting.
Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez, the promoter of the move, said Colombia, a global partner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since May 2017, would strengthen its bilateral and multilateral ties with Washington if the post is implemented.
Menendez, who meets with the Duke this morning, unveiled on Wednesday the 2022 Colombia-US Strategic Alliance Bill, which covers the initiative.
The text strengthens the Coalition for Human and Labor Rights, creates a new entrepreneurial fund to encourage investment in Colombian companies, and promotes efforts to diversify US supply chains and reduce dependence on China.
The United States currently has 17 key allies outside NATO. Argentina and Brazil are the only Latin Americans appointed by Bill Clinton in 1998 and Donald Trump in 2019, respectively.
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