Colombian President Gustavo Petro was welcomed with honors in Madrid by King Felipe VI and jeered at by Vox opposition lawmakers who left the Spanish Congress when the South American leader was to deliver his message. The South American head of state also denounced the United Kingdom's “invasion” of the Falkland Islands, and those of the United States in Santo Domingo, Grenada, and Panama.
In his speech before the Spanish Congress, Petro spoke of the brotherhood between the two nations and said that countries must act together against climate change if they do not want humanity to become extinct.
Petro also said Europe has invaded other countries through NATO and criticized the continent's double standards about the Ukrainian war. It does not sound frank to us the speech that talks about going against the invasions of some countries against others, when the same ones that are rejecting those invasions have carried out invasions against other countries, Petro told Madrid's El País.
He also recalled the invasions that Latin America has suffered, particularly mentioning the United Kingdom's invasion of the Falkland Islands, and those of the United States in Santo Domingo, Grenada, and Panama.
In a way, Petro endorsed Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's peace proposal, considering the negative consequences of war on the economy. In Petro's view, the belligerent parties Russia and Ukraine will have the possibility to negotiate peace only if NATO stops considering Ukraine as a territory to be defended. He also criticized Europe's position on the Russian military operation because Europe has shielded itself in NATO, but through NATO it has invaded, he said.
Petro also advocated for an alliance between Latin America and Spain to advance concrete policies to address the climate crisis. We have to save humanity and for this science is the one that can lead us to a better path, it can serve as a lighthouse, Petro argued.
”Science says that we are at the beginning of the times of extinction (...) climate change is not something we can believe in or not believe in, he added.
Congress Speaker Meritxell Batet stressed the importance of consolidating peace. But Petro was not forgiven for his recent Labor Day remarks about Latin American countries getting rid of the Spanish yoke.
Vox leader Santiago Abascal criticized Petro for insulting Spain: This is nothing more than a sample of the international policy of this Government, always submissive before the enemies of freedoms, from China to Venezuela, passing through Cuba or Colombia, Abascal said.
There was never any yoke, but a beautiful brotherhood, with a shared culture, faith, and worldview. The only yoke that exists in Colombia is the one that totalitarians like Petro have imposed on their people, Abascal wrote on Twitter.
After Petro's speech in Congress, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia officially welcomed the Colombian delegation in the Patio de la Armería of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The ceremony was also attended by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
The priority that your government gives to the policy of total peace, together with the commitment of our country to support this effort, make this a particularly important moment to advance in the yearning shared by all Colombians: the silence of weapons, stressed Felipe VI.
Since coming to power in August last year, Petro has championed his total peace plan to get ELN guerrillas, FARC dissidents, and other armed groups to lay down their arms through dialogue.
At the end of the first day of the state visit to Spain, the King and Queen of Spain hosted a gala dinner for the President and the First Lady of Colombia.
Parliamentarians from various European and Latin American countries, including 52 Vox deputies, have sent a letter to Batet condemning Petro's visit. The so-called Madrid Forum denounced that Petro represented the interests of the São Paulo Forum and the Puebla Group, organizations that, they say, seek to impose in Ibero-America a hegemony that threatens the principles of democracy, freedoms, and the rule of law.
Petro wants Spain to serve as a bridge to the rest of Europe to impose his false narratives, which would only benefit the Ibero-American tyrannies and the drug trafficking mafias, the letter also read.
In their opinion, the Colombian president's management during his first months in office has been extremely harmful to his country, because, instead of concentrating on solving the problems of the people, he has dedicated himself to promoting the legalization of drugs, crumbling the legitimacy of the Armed Forces and Police, granting impunity to terrorist groups (...) and destroying the economy.
Regarding his international policy, they indicate that his priority has been to intercede and legitimize the regime of Nicolás Maduro and destabilize the democratic institutions of Peru, in addition to turning a blind eye to the real problems of Ibero-America, including the Castro-communist tyrannies of Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. They also mentioned the existence of political prisoners and the use of anti-democratic maneuvers” by governments linked to the São Paulo Forum to perpetuate themselves in power.