Gustavo Petro’s victory in Colombia’s presidential elections on Sunday opens a brand new web page within the historical past of the nation’s relations with the US.
The nation – which has by no means had a left-wing president – has been Washington’s closest ally within the area for many years. However the election of leftist former guerrilla Petro to the nation’s highest workplace might transform that relationship.
In an interview with CNN final week, Petro mentioned he intends to renegotiate Colombia’s commerce offers with the US.
He additionally plans to open dialogue round three primary points: safety for the Amazon rainforest; ending the struggle on medication; and shifting the Colombian financial system away from extractive tasks akin to fossil fuels.
His future conversations with US President Joe Biden are prone to be robust, with the 2 leaders diametrically opposed on points akin to relations with Venezuela.
Though he tried to distance himself from the regime of Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro on the marketing campaign path, Petro does help recognizing the authoritarian chief because the nation’s president, one thing the White Home is firmly in opposition to.
However the two presidents may nonetheless discover widespread floor in areas akin to environmental protections and the power transition.
And Petro has his personal allies in Washington – he informed CNN that he speaks “usually” with US Senator Bernie Sanders, and met in particular person earlier this 12 months with the Progressive Caucus, a bunch of left-leaning US representatives.
Colombia’s latest president has additionally spoken of a need to create a brand new progressive alliance in South America.
This might doubtless contain Chilean president Gabriel Boric and Argentinian president Alberto Fernandez, slightly than the three authoritarian nations of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Biden lately stoked opposition amongst some Latin American leaders by barring these three nations from the Summit of the Americas, a regional discussion board that happened in Los Angeles in early June. In solidarity, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador elected to skip the occasion completely.
However Petro informed CNN he would have attended anyway.
“After all,” he mentioned. “I might have gone and informed Biden it was fallacious to not invite some nations, however I might by no means refuse an event for dialogue.”