Uribe and Pastrana Meet with Trump at Mar-a-Lago
President Donald Trump met with former Colombian Presidents Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana at his company’s Mar-a-Lago resort on April 14, though the subject of the meeting remains unknown. According to El Tiempo and Semana, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sara Huckabee Sanders called the interaction between Trump and the former-presidents “nothing more than a quick hello.” However, Pastrana contradicted the White House’s report, taking to Twitter to thank Trump for a “cordial and very frank conversation about the problems and perspectives of Colombia.”
Uribe and Pastrana led the opposition to the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The deal was arranged by current-President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration and was signed in November 2016. The rebels are currently in the process of disarming.
However, Uribe continues to fight against the agreement, and he recently published a letter to the U.S. Congress outlining the reasons for his ongoing opposition. He argued that the peace deal has caused Colombia to become more like Venezuela, where President Nicolás Maduro is combating a protest movement against political repression and worsening economic conditions.
The letter accused the Santos administration of neglecting efforts to attack illegal coca production “to please the terrorist FARC.” It also described the agreement as overly lenient to FARC members, declaring that “FARC’s kingpins and their aides have been granted impunity and political eligibility in the case of any crime.” Uribe also included a reminder that Santos approved the peace deal in Congress despite the results of the popular referendum.
Though Santos and Trump have not yet met in person, they had a phone conversation in which Santos urged Trump to uphold the $450 million agreement that former-President Barack Obama promised Colombia to aid in implementing the peace agreement. Supporters of the agreement have raised concerns that Uribe’s and Pastrana’s aim is to push the United States to go back on this pledge.