US Republican senators Marco Rubio and Chuck Grassley consider Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s “stance towards the United States” “alarming” and warn that changes in Colombian anti-drug policy could harm the regional strategy.
In a letter released Friday, Rubio and Grassley outline their concerns about Petro to Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and ask him to provide detailed information about a meeting he held. with him last August.
“President Petro’s drug policy and stance toward the United States is alarming. Shortly after taking office, President Petro suspended arrest warrants and extraditions for members of the National Liberation Army (Eln), a designated terrorist organization. by the United States with approximately 3,000 active members”, they underline in the letter released this Friday.
The two senators mention the peace talks that Petro has been carrying out with the ELN and his request that Cuba be removed from the list of states that sponsor terrorism drawn up by the United States to support its concern.
After pointing out that the production of cocaine finances the ELN and the terrorist activities of the FARC dissidents, they underline that Petro has publicly praised the decriminalization of cocaine and has formulated a plan to end the aerial eradication of coca.
They also underline that Petro reestablished diplomatic relations with the “narco-regime” of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and his decision to serve as guarantor in the talks with the Eln.
“Petro’s favorable actions towards actors who work closely with drug traffickers in our hemisphere cast doubt on the Colombian president’s commitment to cooperate with the United States to prevent the flow of drugs across our border,” they allege.
In the letter they mention that Gupta met in August with the then newly elected Colombian president to discuss collaboration between the United States and Colombia.
“President Petro now seeks to renegotiate Colombia’s alliance with the United States, which both he and President Biden disparaged as unfair. In their meeting, President Petro called for reform in our countries’ long-standing extradition procedures. they said.
And they added that, according to the press, he proposed limiting extraditions to those accused “who do not negotiate with the State” of Colombia.
“Not only is this limitation at odds with our current treaty, which passed with a 96-0 vote in the Senate, but it also incentivizes criminals to avoid extradition by bribing or coercing the incumbent political regime,” they added.
The two senators conclude their letter by telling Gupta that they expect to discuss their meetings with President Petro and his cabinet this month in the upper house and ask him to provide them with detailed information on a number of issues, including whether they discussed “recognition.” by the United States of the “Maduro regime”.
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