“The President, President Biden, has described Colombia as the keystone to our shared hemisphere. We strongly believe that, and the President wanted me to come here to reaffirm the fundamental importance that we attach to the partnership between the United States and Colombia.” – Secretary of State Blinken
Colombian President Iván Duque and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met last week in Colombia to address some of the biggest issues affecting the region and the world. Colombian Ambassador to the USA Juan Carlos Pinzón attended the dialogues.
President Duque and Secretary Blinken addressed a complete agenda of issues, ranging from trade relations and the fight against climate change to vaccinations and challenges such as drug trafficking and migration.
Following the meetings, Secretary Blinken stated:
- Venezuelan migration: “Colombia has shown remarkable generosity in hosting approximately 2 million Venezuelan migrants displaced by the country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis.”
- Fight against COVID-19: In addition, the [CDC] is supporting Colombia’s National Public Health Institute in establishing the first public health emergency operations center in South America. Our institutions are collaborating to train field epidemiologists, bolster emergency preparedness and response, build laboratory capacity, and improve the way we use data to inform public health interventions. All of these are critical building blocks for health security and will put us in an even stronger position going forward.”
- Climate crisis: “Colombia is a key partner in addressing the most pressing global challenge we face, and that, of course, is the climate crisis. ... And we hope that Colombia’s leadership will inspire others to reach even higher when we all meet at the COP26 meeting in a few weeks. Simply put, the shared planet, the shared future, depend on it.”
- Support for victims: “We welcome President Duque’s commitment to establish 16 seats in the House of Representatives for conflict victims, which will give an important voice to its 9 million registered victims, particularly the Afro- Colombian indigenous communities, which are chronically underrepresented.”
In remarks to Mission Colombia staff Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the importance of democracy: “We were in ... Ecuador yesterday, came to Colombia. And one of the things that’s been a thread through both of these visits is the work that we’re trying to do to renew our democracies and to make sure that they’re delivering for our people, for our fellow citizens. And ... this trip to Colombia is a powerful reminder of that fact and what we’re trying to accomplish.”