During a meeting Thursday at the White House, Colombian President Gustavo Petro asked his US colleague Joseph Biden for more boats, drones, and ships to stop drug traffickers in the South American country because so far such a war has failed.
Petro also underlined that the fight against drug trafficking had marked for around half a century the relationship between the United States and Latin America. Petro's visit to the White House lasted about three hours.
One thing is to fumigate a bush and some human beings who are economically weak; and another thing is to chase the drug trafficking business, something that is done based on intelligence work, their assets, and their money, Petro explained. In order to wage this war, I requested a little more help in that aspect, he added in statements to the press.
Petro had already said he wanted to discuss this issue with Biden and insisted on his criticism of the United States' punitive policy, which, in his opinion, has only served to create more violence and impoverish the peasantry. Biden's administration recognized that a new approach was, but has expressed concern about the increase in coca cultivation in Colombia, which grew by 43% in 2021, when 204,000 hectares were registered as planted while in 2020 that figure was 143,000 hectares, according to the latest annual report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Unodc) published in 2022.
”May our struggles achieve peace, full life, a deeper and multicolored democracy (and) social justice for the weakest, can be read in the inscription next to Petro's signature on the guest's book.
Petro also said his country and the United States shared many common goals, including maintaining peace and democracy. The concept of democracy and freedom is not etched in stone; rather, it is a flow. It flows along, and it evolves with history and becomes ever more profound, he said. So we are going down the same river, a river that leads us to ever greater democracy and ever greater freedom, he added.
Biden called Colombia the key to the hemisphere, underlining the importance of its partnership, especially as it pertains to combating climate change. The US president also pledged to commit US$ 500 million to preserve the Amazon. And as we begin the next century of our partnership, I believe we can do even more to deepen and develop cooperation, Biden said while praising Colombia's humanitarian support to Venezuelan refugees.
Petro also made it clear that Colombia still refuses to supply its weapons and military equipment, primarily Russian-made helicopters, to Kyiv. The position of the current government is they’re not going to be used in war. They’re not going to Ukraine, they’re not going to Russia,” Petro told a TASS correspondent after he met with Biden.