Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and U.S. President Donald Trump have scheduled a meeting at the White House for Thursday, in order to discuss Venezuelan opposition protests, Colombian peace agreements, and counternarcotics.
According to an official statement, the two presidents will discuss a wide range of “bilateral and regional issues” in order to “reinforce the strong ties that the United States and Colombia enjoy.”
With new rounds of peace talks between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army beginning in Quito, Ecuador this week, and the peace accord reached with the larger and more well-known Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, President Santos will be looking for Trump to provide political and financial support.
Trump’s support for the peace process remains unclear, with some interpreting his unannounced April meeting with former Colombian presidents Alvaro Uribe and Andres Pastrana as indicating a lack of support for peace. Uribe and Pastrana are among the most prominent voices opposing peace deals with the rebel forces.
According to a White House statement, Santos and Trump will also discuss “countering democratic backsliding in Venezuela.” The U.S. has a long history of funding opposition within Venezuela against the revolutionary Bolivarian government, as violent right-wing opposition protests to remove democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro now enter their seventh week.
As Venezuelan opposition leaders search for international support for their efforts to remove the Bolivarian government, Colombia is strategic due to its shared border with Venezuela and close relations with the United States. Early in May the president of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly Julio Borges met with Trump’s national security advisor H.R. McMaster.
Santos will be the third current Latin American president to meet with Trump since he arrived in the White House earlier in 2017, following President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru, and President Mauricio Macri of Argentina.
Published 17 May 2017 (4 hours 15 minutes ago)