Luis Gilberto Murillo, the Colombian ambassador to the United States, clarified President Petro’s words in New York regarding the Darien region, where the president spoke of alleged American intentions to build a wall in that border region. The Colombian president’s stated goal was to prevent the constant flow of migrants, many of whom are of Venezuelan origin, heading towards the United States.
In this context, Gustavo Petro called for lifting sanctions on Venezuela to address the migratory flow from a more humanitarian perspective. The controversy quickly spread within U.S. politics. National Security Advisor John Kirby stated that he was unaware of the White House requesting Colombia to build a wall in the Darien Gap, as Petro had suggested.
“That is not our role. In addition to improving security on our border, President Biden has requested more funding and resources for our Border Patrol. We aim to enhance our border, but I am not aware of any such requirement,” clarified the American advisor.
Ambassador Murillo stepped in to clarify the controversy, stating that the Colombian president was speaking figuratively when explaining the idea of a wall in the Darien. “His reference to a wall was figurative, illustrative: ‘We have been asked from here, the political power of this country, to block the gap, as if that were easy, to build a kind of wall to prevent people from passing to the United States,'” tweeted the ambassador.
Ambassador Murillo used social media to create a thread to explain the president’s words, highlighting Colombia’s collaborative approach with the United States on migration matters.
Joint Migration Policy
The ambassador’s comments referred to John Kirby’s statements, in which the American advisor expressed his lack of knowledge about the proposal and indicated that he needed a better response.
Murillo clarified that what is being requested is more support from the United States and the international community to control movement through a complex area, such as the border with Panama, at the Darien Gap.
“The regional context in which we work with the United States in the region leads us to address the issue of migration from a new perspective: that of human migration and safe and compassionate mobility,” Murillo wrote.
The ambassador stated that the recent working meeting between the two countries addressed the migration issue. For Murillo, this reflects the interest of Colombia and the United States in “ensuring safe, orderly, regular migration through bilateral, trilateral, and regional dialogue.”
The Darien, a Conflict Zone
In recent years, the Darien has become a transit zone for migrants, mostly Venezuelans. According to the Colombian president, this reality has been on the rise, going from 1,000 to 3,000 people. Petro insisted that there are projections suggesting up to 6,000 individuals in the near future.
“The Darien Gap has become a focal point in the human exodus. From here, the political power of this country has asked us to close this passage, as if it were a simple task, to build a kind of barrier to prevent people from reaching the United States,” Gustavo Petro stated before the Colombian community in New York.