Vanguardia, November 15, 2020
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
Colombia has understood both Republican and Democratic administrations very well, and has remained in the priorities and on the agenda of the United States.
After Joe Biden’s recent triumph as President of the United States, a lot of questions arise as to what might happen regarding relations with Colombia, keeping in mind the alleged political intervention by some members of the governing Party here, and even by Ambassador Francisco Santos.
We have to remember that historically there has been a bipartisan relationship, and that Colombia is one of the principal countries in Latin America that have been strategic partners for the United States.
For some analysts, the bilateral relationship between the Colombian and United States governments will not change dramatically, because the policies of cooperation with the United States are designed by the United States government, and not by the Colombian government.
On the contrary, they think that this might generate a more open conversation in areas such as the peace, human rights, the war on drugs, and even on the migration of the Venezuelans.
On that score, Gerardo Martínez, a political analyst, points out that it’s enough to look at what Joe Biden did in the eight years that he was Barack Obama’s Vice President, to realize that his attitude was always open to nurturing the Peace Agreements, to respect for human rights, and his policy was in favor of the environment. So we know where the work is and where we have to start.
Martínez said that Biden made clear during his first remarks that he is not vindictive, and he invited everyone to be united, but international relations move at the level of aides, so it is possible that as President some of these areas will not come to him directly.
The aides that manage the subject of Latin American will take charge of getting even.
In the opinion of Oscar Palma, an internationalist and professor at the Rosario University, “I don’t think there will be a very big change in the bilateral agenda of the two countries with Biden’s arrival, because Colombia is an excellent ally of the United States and South America (among the most important allies) and it’s difficult to change that with the transition of administrations.”
And, finally, Hugo Fernando Guerrero, a professor at La Salle University, has said that the arrival of Biden implies a return to institutional channels, and a reinforcement of certain kinds of objectives that are in the Peace Agreement that have been left to one side by the confrontational dysfunction that has arisen in our governing Party.
With respect to the subject of Venezuelan migration, which has not just affected Colombia, but rather has affected a number of countries, Guerrero thinks that with the arrival of Biden to the White House we will see an effort to humanize the presence of the Venezuelans in different countries. The role of NGO’s like Human Rights Watch will be predominant in the areas of human rights and respect for racial and ethnic minorities.
The war on drugs
Hugo Fernando Guerrero, the La Salle University professor, thinks that in the Joe Biden era, with respect to the illegal plantings, there will be an environmental perspective and a view to caring for the original peoples’ living spaces. Because of that, it’s possible that there will be support for continuing to rely on manual eradication and crop substitution.
For his part, Oscar Palma, the Rosario University professor, believes that the President-Elect of the United States will be open to more discussion, and that the idea of a prohibitionist, militarist, police-focused anti-drug policy conducted by force will probably be relaxed. “Even though the pressure of the famous war on drugs will not be over, it’s probable that there will be more debate,” he added.
Besides that, former President Juan Manuel Santos took part in the United Nations session called to deal with the problem of drug trafficking, where aspects of the global focus on the ways drugs are treated were discussed, and there was a consensus for the need to overcome this stage of a war on drugs, and to adopt policies of prevention and treatment of drug use as a public health problem, but Trump refused to consider that position.
Finally, the political analyst, Gerardo Martínez, recalled that when the Constitutional Court prohibited fumigation, Biden was the Vice President of the United States and there wasn’t any judgment expressed.
Besides that, in the recent elections there were eight referendums in different states and there were advances toward the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, and some of them removed it from the status of a crime and provided for the contrary treatment.
Peace and Human Rights
Both Republicans and Democrats have supported Colombia’s peace process in the same way, in the opinion of Oscar Palma, internationalist and professor at Rosario University.
“The Donald Trump administration also supported the peace process and the advances that the Colombian government is making in the peace agenda, and that’s unlikely to change with Biden’s arrival, so I would bet much more on a continuation in many of the issues regarding Colombia than on a big disruption,” he said.
And with regard to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, JEP, Palma thinks that “the fact that there exists an intention to close it down is probably because there are voices in the United States that are trying to criticize that position, but I don’t believe it will be an issue on the bilateral agenda.”