Press Releases

The U.S. Must Remain Vigilant as Colombia Turns to the Left
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
July 29, 2022
Medium

Barely over a month after Gustavo Petro was elected to the Colombian presidency, President Joe Biden sent a high-level delegation to meet with his incoming administration…. Clearly the Democrats are excited by the prospect of another leftist in power—even if that leader is far less favorable to the U.S. than his predecessor….

It reflects President Biden’s misguided approach toward our region. The Obama-era holdovers in this White House…punish our allies and reward our adversaries, leading voters across Latin America to reject pro-U.S. incumbents and turn to left-wing challengers—as well as Beijing and Moscow.

To protect the safety and security of our region, we must change course immediately, and that means no more pandering to leftists. Colombia remains an important regional partner, and we should seek to maintain strong ties, but we must also act in the interests of our nation.

First, the Biden Administration cannot let terrorists off the hook because Petro himself will go easy on them. Rather, we must maintain pressure on violent extremists like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the Clan del Golfo, notorious for its ongoing violence against law enforcement…. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and I introduced legislation to relist the FARC as an FTO and reimpose sanctions on its affiliates…. Congress should pass it immediately.

In addition to maintaining pressure on terrorists, we must vigorously oppose any attempts to change our criminal extradition agreement with Colombia…. Retaining extradition rights has clear benefits—it ensures Americans will see justice done for crimes committed against them by Colombian nationals, and it’s a safeguard against instability in the region as a whole.

Finally, we must hold firm in our support for the rightful government of Venezuela, even as Petro reestablishes ties with the narco-regime in Caracas…. In a few days, Colombia will…recognize Maduro…. That’s bad news—but we can’t let it change our own commitment. Narco-dictators do not deserve America’s endorsement and support, no matter if Petro says otherwise….

As we navigate our relationship with the new government of Colombia, we must not abandon U.S. national interests in the region, or the values we and our allies hold dear. What that means is simple: maintain a position of strength, and do not pander to the far left.

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