Colombian President Gustavo Petro visited the U.S. this week, and Florida Republicans pushed back. Both Florida Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R) met with Petro, urging him to shift his political stance.
The Colombia Caucus met with Colombian President Petro, and the meeting sought to reinforce the importance of the U.S.-Colombia partnership. However, members of the Caucus also raised concerns over Petro’s political stance, his actions, and comments.
As the co-chair of the Congressional Colombia Caucus, Diaz-Balart issued a statement regarding the meeting. He shared that the meeting was “in respect for the longstanding relationship between the United States and Colombia, our close ties to the Colombian people, and to express my grave concerns directly with the new government.”
“Since the highly successful Plan Colombia, the United States has provided more than $13 billion in assistance to promote security, eradicate drug trafficking, and combat terrorism in Colombia. However, the actions and comments from Colombia’s new president have jeopardized the largely successful U.S.-Colombia relationship,” Diaz-Balart added.
He also shared comments as the Chairman of the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee, commenting that he would “not permit U.S. taxpayer dollars to support a government in Colombia that sustains the Maduro regime with intelligence-sharing or funding, allows Russia a foothold in the country, partners with the Cuban regime to facilitate human trafficking, or that enables drug trafficking and production.”
“Should the current president decide to support malign, anti-American actors in our hemisphere, then he will be responsible for destroying the foundation of our countries’ relationship,” Diaz-Balart concluded.
On Twitter, Salazar shared images of her meeting with President Petro, informing me that she had asked me several questions, but he left the meeting without giving satisfactory answers. As a result of the meeting, Salazar said that she was worried about the future of Colombia.
Finalmente cara a cara con el presidente Petro. Le hice muchas preguntas y me fui de la reunión sin respuestas, muy decepcionada.
¡Estoy más preocupada que nunca por el futuro de Colombia! pic.twitter.com/CwN2GQBEWP
— Rep. María Elvira Salazar (@RepMariaSalazar) April 20, 2023