The U.S.-Colombia relationship is “vital” to the “Western Hemisphere and its security and the freedom of all peoples in the region,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a recent visit to Colombia.
Colombia has played a critical role in caring for refugees from Venezuela during the difficult days of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Your support of Interim President Juan Guaidó and a democratic transition for a sovereign Venezuela free of malign influence from Cuba, from Russia, from Iran, is incredibly valued,” stated Secretary Pompeo.
The Colombian people desire a lasting and just peace in their nation. “The violence on the part of FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] dissidents, the ELN [National Liberation Army], or any other terrorist or criminal group is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated, nor can the actions of regimes like Maduro’s, which provide safe haven, aid and indeed comfort to those terrorists,” said Secretary Pompeo.
Colombia has demonstrated leadership on confronting the dangers posed by Hezbollah by designating it as a foreign terrorist organization. Such designations give governments the power to arrest members, freeze their assets, restrict their freedom of movement, and to make it harder to plot and carry out terrorist attacks. “Putting maximum pressure on Iran and its proxies is essential to peace and security for free peoples everywhere,” emphasized Secretary Pompeo.
The United States and Colombia are also united in their fight against illegal narcotics, said Secretary Pompeo:
“Colombian law enforcement, even in these difficult times, has stepped up cocaine interdiction and eradication. You manually cleared 57 percent more coca fields in 2019 than in the year prior, 2018.The U.S. is here to help by sharing resources, expertise, and we applaud the work that you have done.”
The United States is Colombia’s largest trading partner, accounting for 34 percent of Colombia’s total trade. The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement aims to improve the investment environment, eliminate tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports, expand trade, and promote economic growth for both countries .Secretary Pompeo announced that the U.S. will expand its private sector investment in rural Colombia, including through the U.S. Development Finance Corporation. He said, “We want to make sure there is a solution, an alternative to coca crops.”
Secretary Pompeo confirmed that “the U.S. and Colombia are powerful forces for good in the Americas.”