Colombian President-elect Gustavo Petro, a former member of a Marxist terrorist organization, announced on Wednesday that he had started a friendly conversation with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro in a bid to “normalize” relations.
Colombia, previously one of the most conservative countries in the region, elected Petro last week in a flawed election that Petro himself denounced as rigged before winning.
Neither Petro nor his challenger Rodolfo Hernández, a foreign businessman with no clear political ideology, disputed the election results, and observers like President Joe Biden’s administration celebrated the vote as “free and fair. “.
If inaugurated, Petro will become the country’s first far-left president. Petro has promised to dramatically expand the country’s social safety net and improve relations with regimes like Maduro’s, in addition to ending the war on drugs – which is also a war on Marxist terrorists like the M19 group to which Petro once belonged – and to crush the nation’s self. -Sufficient oil and gas industries.
Colombia currently recognizes the legal president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, as the country’s president, not the rogue Maduro dictatorship. Petro’s appeal to Maduro seems to indicate that his administration will not maintain ties with Guaidó, disregarding the legitimacy of the Venezuelan constitution.
While Guaidó is legally the president of the country, he has no practical power as the Venezuelan armed forces and police continue to respond to Maduro and Maduro has illegally occupied the presidential palace, Miraflores, since 2019. Maduro was legally the president of Venezuela at from 2013. to 2019.
However, Colombia had already significantly severed relations with Maduro, long before Guaidó became president in response to a brutal campaign of violence against Colombian citizens on the Venezuelan side of the border in 2015, which included beatings and reports. widespread rape by police, arbitrary seizure of homes and destruction of property believed to belong to Colombians.
Then-president Juan Manuel Santos compared Maduro’s tactics to those of Nazi Germany, but took no meaningful steps to condemn Colombia.
Maduro then closed the border between Venezuela and Colombia in 2019 to prevent humanitarian aid for his starving people from entering the country.
Petro announced his conversations with Maduro in a Twitter post in which he misrepresented Maduro’s regime as “the Venezuelan government.”
“I have communicated with the Venezuelan government to open the borders and restore the full exercise of human rights at the border,” Petro wrote.
Me he comunicado con el gobierno venezolano para abrir las fronteras y restablecer el pleno ejercicio de los derechos humanos en la frontera.
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) June 22, 2022
Maduro offered more detailed comments on their discussion.
“I spoke to the elected president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, and on behalf of the Venezuelan people, I congratulated him on his victory,” Maduro wrote in a social media post, according to the state propaganda network. VTV. “We discussed readiness to restore normality at the border, various issues regarding peace and the prosperous future of the two peoples.”
Conversed with the elected president of Colombia @petrogustavo, y in number del pueblo venezolano, lo felicity por su victoria. Dialogamos sobre la disposición de restablecer la normalidad en las fronteras, diversos temas sobre la Paz y el futuro próspero de ambos pueblos. pic.twitter.com/ZK3cBE8JdO
— Nicolas Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) June 22, 2022
Colombian voters did not have a meaningful choice on whether to normalize relations with Maduro in the second round of the presidential election. Rodolfo Hernández, who campaigned on a vague promise to root out corruption, said he would, if elected, restore relations with Maduro to make it easier for Colombians to travel to Venezuela and vice versa.
Incumbent President Iván Duque responded to the news of Petro’s appeal to Maduro by noting that his government had never severed ties with Venezuela – just Maduro’s illegitimate regime – and wryly declaring that the border does not not seem to be closed given the evidence that Marxist terrorists routinely cross over to engage in drug trafficking and other violent activities.
“The borders have not been closed,” Duque said, according to the right-wing Colombian magazine Week. “‘Pablito’ is over there, ‘Antonio García’ is over there, ‘Iván Márquez’ is over there,” Duque said, referring to several high-level narco-terrorist leaders suspected of operating in Venezuela under the auspices of Maduro. “As they make them [to Colombia]that they extradite them so that they can show Colombia that there is a will to collaborate with our country.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest and deadliest narco-terrorist group, celebrated Maduro’s victory in a rare press release posted on their website Tuesday with flattering photos of Petro and of Vice President-elect Francia Márquez.
“We support the government of life and hope,” reads part of the terrorists’ message, “which is being born…desirous to restore peace and dignity to us, to defend the world against climate change with the Amazon Rainforest Shield, which should be expanded.
“We call on the public forces [police, military] support and obey the elected president since he is constitutionally their supreme commander. Join the human tide for life and peace,” the terrorists recommended.
Colombia, under President Juan Manuel Santos, signed an unconstitutional “peace accord” with the FARC in 2016 despite Colombians rejecting the move in a national referendum. The deal gave the FARC uncontested seats in Congress and a path to amnesty for violent crimes deemed “political”. In an attempt to make the deal look successful, the Colombian government began referring to FARC deals caught engaging in narco-terrorism despite agreeing not to do so again as “dissidents”. of the FARC and using the term for their new insurgency, “Second Marquetalía”. as the name of an alleged separate terrorist group.
The Biden administration followed suit and removed the FARC from the list of terrorist organizations in November.
Most of the active leaders of the FARC (“Second Marquetalía”) are believed to be in Venezuela without Maduro making a significant move to arrest them or prevent them from engaging in terrorist activities or drug trafficking. The FARC has long maintained a relationship with Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, even hosting a 50th anniversary celebration in Venezuela in 2014.