The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Álvaro Leyva. Felipe Caicedo
The Colombian Foreign Ministry decided not to attend the August 12 meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), in which a resolution condemning the Government of Nicaragua, headed by Daniel Ortega, was going to vote. to the press, imprisoned opponents and in general disrespected democracy and human rights. Noticas Caracol revealed that this, which was initially interpreted as a slip due to the change of ambassadors to the institution in the first days of the Government of Gustavo Petro, was a voluntary decision, which has been endorsed in that in the days that have passed since then Colombia has also not expressed its support for the resolution.
Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva has a long history of peace negotiations, not diplomacy. He has precisely dedicated a good part of his first days to peace matters, and the day before the OAS meeting he arrived in Cuba to recognize that island’s support for different peace processes in Colombia and to pave the way for new negotiations with the guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN). The day of the OAS meeting, at another event in Havana, Leyva accompanied Petro’s Peace Advisor, Danilo Rueda, in his statement in which he recognized the ELN spokesmen.
As Chancellor, he also came out to defend the former guerrilla Jesús Santrich. In a diplomatic ceremony with the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, he said that Santrich was framed and then killed. As one of the FARC commanders, the former guerrilla signed the 2016 Havana Agreement. Already demobilized, a video was released in which he was apparently negotiating a shipment of cocaine to the United States, in a controversial operation due to a possible “entrapment” ” in which the DEA and Attorney General of the time would have tried to sabotage the implementation of the Agreement. He was later imprisoned, the transitional justice decided not to extradite him to the United States, once released he went into hiding, took up arms again and died in Venezuela in 2021.
That the Foreign Minister has even said that he was assassinated is something that can help create confidence in those who seek to negotiate with the Petro Government as part of his “total peace” policy, but it also shows that the person in charge of international relations has a good part of his attention on the country’s internal issues, and especially on the peace policy.
Meanwhile, Petro was one of the four leftist presidents who sign a letter in which they support Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, vice president of Argentina, before a criminal trial for alleged corruption, but instead accuse the justice of that country of seeking ” remove him from political life” and to be executing an “unjustifiable persecution” against the former president, who has said that it is not only against her but against all of Peronism.
The signing of that letter, plus the abstention in the OAS against Ortega’s leftist regime, has led the right-wing opposition to accuse Petro of pursuing an ideological foreign policy aligned with the hardest left in Latin America.
The Maduro, Castro and Ortega partnership has a new partner: Petro.
Complicity with the Nicaraguan dictatorship, partnership with the Venezuelan dictatorship and pedagogy by the Cuban dictatorship.
This is how the Colombian diplomacy led by Leyva and Gil remained.
– Juan David Vélez (@JuanDaVelez) August 29, 2022
Petro has tried to hide from this accusation, which is leveling and could revive fears that he will turn Colombia into Venezuela, aligning himself with a more modern, more business-friendly left. This was noted, for example, in the visit to Bogotá by the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez; in the appointment of his Finance Minister, José Antonio Ocampo; or in his words in his first big meeting with businessmen. That is to say, a Petro more moderate or pragmatic than ideologized.
In fact, the other version of the motivations for not voting against Nicaragua is that it was a realistic look at foreign relations. As Sandra Borda, professor and expert in foreign relations, explained in a column, it would be a strategy to ingratiate herself with the Central American country, with which the implementation of the ruling of the Court of The Hague last April is still open. In the same vein, this morning the journalist Daniel Coronell explained that what the Foreign Ministry is looking for is “to reconcile with Nicaragua to reach a bilateral agreement that allows the Raizal fishermen of San Andrés to continue working.”
“That’s not going to work,” Borda tells EL PAÍS. “Nicaragua is not going to give in because it knows that it has a chance of winning and Colombia is going to be left in a strange position, because it has always strongly defended the democratic charter.”
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