The Biden administration has requested a one-year extension of the U.S. national emergency declaration with Colombia. This decree, which has been in effect since 1995, has been extended multiple times due to issues related to drug trafficking and insecurity, which Americans perceive as ongoing threats.
The request was made by the Joe Biden administration to the U.S. Congress with the goal of renewing the national emergency declaration related to Colombia because, as they assert, “narcotrafficking in the country continues to be a threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy, and the economy, causing an extreme level of violence, corruption, and harm in the U.S. and abroad.”
The declaration was initially approved during Bill Clinton’s administration on October 21, 1995. Since then, it has been renewed by every U.S. president, including George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden. It is renewed annually, and in October 2022, it was already extended by Congress at the president’s request, citing that “the circumstances that led to the declaration 28 years ago have not been resolved.” This law grants executive powers to regulate trade in response to extraordinary circumstances.
In the last ten days, Colombia’s political relations with the United States have experienced their most delicate moment since President Petro took office. The reason behind this is President Petro’s comments against the State of Israel following the recent attack on the country by Hamas terrorists and subsequent reprisals by Israel.
The United States has historically been the main ally of Israel, a country that has faced strong criticism from the Colombian president via social media. He has even gone so far as to compare Israeli policies in Gaza to the Nazi genocide.
However, various high-ranking U.S. officials have consistently expressed recognition and support for the Colombian government’s fight against drug trafficking. They have even applauded President Petro’s Total Peace policy, his attempt to make peace with all illegal armed groups willing to negotiate with the government.
Both administrations have also found common ground in their determination to combat climate change and implement measures for climate adaptation.
Not Empty Words
U.S. support for Colombia’s drug eradication efforts has gone beyond rhetoric. In September of last year, the United States delivered three Black Hawk UH-60 helicopters to the Colombian police to support their fight against drug trafficking and the environmental problems associated with this practice.
This supply adds to what the Biden administration provided the year before when they handed over twelve Black Hawk helicopters to Colombia, which, according to Colombian Ambassador to Washington Luis Gilberto Murillo, contributed to reducing deforestation.
The cost of strengthening the aviation fleet exceeds $12 million, according to U.S. Ambassador to Bogota, Francisco Palmieri, who highlighted the “extraordinary effort” of Colombian authorities in the fight against drug trafficking.
According to Colombian Police Chief General William Salamanca, “123 projects have been carried out with the United States, with an investment of over $60 million earmarked for anti-narcotics efforts.”