Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador arrived in Cali, Colombia, at 4 p.m. on Friday, September 8th. He was received by the Colombian Foreign Minister, Álvaro Leyva. Obrador is in the capital of Colombian salsa to participate in the Latin American and Caribbean Conference, which aims to discuss the issue of drugs in the region.
Obrador Visits Colombia for 2 Days
Upon landing in Colombian territory, Lopez Obrador expressed his pleasure at being in Cali, Colombia, and mentioned that he came to greet President Gustavo Petro fraternally. This is, in fact, the first visit to South America by the President of Mexico during his five years in office.
The Mexican president held a private meeting with Colombian President Gustavo Petro. Later, the meeting was expanded to include ministers and senior officials from both countries.
Although the specific topics discussed during the private meeting have not been disclosed, it is known to have lasted for about an hour. It is known that Petro discussed Colombia’s desire to change its approach to combating drug trafficking, an issue where there is considerable alignment between the two presidents. Both have expressed frustration with the current approach to the war on drugs.
The second topic that was likely discussed is Colombia’s “Total Peace” policy. It’s worth noting that the second round of peace talks between Colombia and the ELN (National Liberation Army) took place in Mexico. However, there are differences between the two presidents on this issue. While Petro has expressed a willingness to engage in dialogue with all armed groups, including drug traffickers, Obrador has been opposed to including drug traffickers in peace negotiations.
“We have very good relations with them, but it’s different circumstances, and he knows it (…). Experiences can’t be extrapolated,” López Obrador clarified in statements made in March.
On the second day of Obrador’s visit to Colombia, both presidents will receive the conclusions of the conference on drug-related issues in Cali, and will then conclude the event on Saturday, September 9th.
Obrador and Petro Travel to Chile
After the conference’s conclusion in Cali, the two leaders will separately travel to Chile. There, they will meet with another left-leaning president in the region, Gabriel Boric. Notably, on Monday, September 11th, Chile commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Pinochet coup and the death of the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende.
Gustavo Petro has confirmed his trip to Chile, emphasizing the significance of this somber anniversary for Latin America. “I will go to Santiago, Chile. At the age of 13, the military coup against Allende filled my soul with political concerns for the first time and condemned Latin America to dictatorships and revolutionary wars,” Petro wrote on social media.
In the meantime, the Mexican president also expressed his joy at traveling to Chile during such a symbolic moment. “With all those who were in Mexico during the exile, all our Chilean brothers; it will be very emotional because we will be at the Mexican embassy in Chile, and when the coup d’état happened, many Chileans were protected in the embassy,” Obrador said, clearly moved by the prospect of visiting Chile on such an emotionally charged date for the Andean country.