The U.S. and Colombia have had a strong relationship for much of Colombia’s 200-year history due to Colombia being one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. Known for having a past full of terrorism from infamous drug cartels, Colombia has reinvented itself and today has a stable democracy. The U.S. has a history of sending aide and assisting Colombia in its efforts to eradicate drug trafficking. From this past relationship of fighting narcotrafficking the U.S. and Colombia have come to share similar ideals such as supporting democratic governance, promoting security, and creating economic opportunities for all people (State, 2018). Sharing these ideals has also led to free trade agreements, becoming members of the same international organizations and U.S. assistance to Colombia that is more than just eradicating narcotrafficking (State, 2018). Recently the U.S. and Colombian relationships have come into the limelight. With meetings between the two countries leaders and representatives in January and February.
The meeting in February was between President Duque of Colombia and President Trump. President Duque of Colombia is a right-wing leader, has been in office since August 2018 and since then Colombia’s relationship with Venezuela has been tense (France, 2019). As President Duque and President Trump have met to discuss what actions could be taken to oust Maduro. Meeting in the Oval office on February 13, 2019 President Trump and President Duque seemed to be in great standings, showing admiration for one another and their respective countries. They discussed the drug cartel situation in Colombia but most of the meeting was focused on the current situation in Venezuela. Highlighting the lack of food and common necessities but focusing on Maduro’s refusal to allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela (White House, 2019).
President Duque, the month before, met with Secretary of State Pompeo in Cartagena Colombia where they discussed similar topics. President Duque highlighted the U.S. assistance in Colombia’s fight for independence against Spain and the necessity of more trade and entrepreneurship to eliminate poverty. Secretary Pompeo highlighted the fact that the U.S. and Colombia have an enduring partnership rooted in democracy (State, 2019). He spoke on the Colombian efforts to eradicate drugs and how the U.S. has supported those efforts. They also discussed how trade could be facilitated better and benefit both countries. Like President Trump Secretary Pompeo also noted that the U.S. has provided $92 million to Colombian so they can assist the Venezuelan Crisis (state, 2019). Praising Colombia on their hospitality to the one million Venezuelans that have entered the country fleeing Maduro’s regime.
Humanitarian aid has been a key topic in the Venezuelan Crisis as the U.S. has been flying aid to the border of Colombia and Venezuela. Maduro has blocked bridges on the Colombian border, refusing entry to trucks carrying aid. Maduro has said the U.S. sanctions against Venezuela have done more harm to his people than his refusal to allow in aid stating that they are not a country of beggars to be humiliated (Laya and Vasquez, 2019).
With Maduro’s refusal other ideas have been brought up on how to get the aid into Venezuela, one that has sparked much interest is military use. The Venezuelan military has shown its loyalty to Maduro as all its leadership is on Maduro’s payroll. While China and Russia have been accused of helping keep military leaders loyal to Maduro as well, with President Trump saying, “all options are on the table”, a U.S. military forced entry into Venezuela with aid is a possibility (Londoño, 2019).
To enter Venezuela safely and easily, the relationship the U.S. has with Colombia is key as the U.S. has free access to the border while Venezuela cannot get help from its neighbors. The U.S. has good relations with Colombia, and now Brazil as well. These alliances will be key for the future of not only Venezuela but Latin America as well.
- “Colombia.” U.S. Department of State. August 14, 2018. Accessed March 09, 2019. https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35754.htm.
- Laya, Patricia, and Alex Vasquez. Bloomberg.com. Accessed March 09, 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-09/money-to-launder-here-s-how-hint-find-a-bank-quicktake.
- LondoÑo, Ernesto. “U.S. Military Starts Flying Aid for Venezuela to Colombia.” The New York Times. February 16, 2019. Accessed March 09, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/world/americas/venezuela-aid-us-air-force.html.
- Pompeo, Michael R. “Remarks With Colombian President Ivan Duque.” U.S. Department of State. January 02, 2019. Accessed March 09, 2019. https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/01/288308.htm.
- “Remarks by President Trump and President Duque of Colombia Before Bilateral Meeting.” The White House. February 13, 2019. Accessed March 09, 2019. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-president-duque-colombia-bilateral-meeting/.
- “US, Colombia Aim to Restore Venezuela’s ‘democratic Heritage’.” France 24. January 02, 2019. Accessed March 09, 2019. https://www.france24.com/en/20190102-us-colombia-aim-restore-venezuelas-democratic-heritage.