Cuba was one of the first countries on the continent to offer congratulations Gustavo Petro after his “historic” victory on Sunday at the polls Colombian. Petro’s victory adds another progressive government to the region at an important moment for Havana, when many Latin American countries have stood up to the United States over its policy of Eliminations at the recent Summit of the Americas. Minutes after the final results of the elections in Colombia were confirmed, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel described what happened as a “historic popular victory” and sent Petro “most sincere congratulations on his election”, expressing his “willingness to advance in the elections.” development of bilateral relations.” Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, in a message also on Twitter, expressed his “warm congratulations” to “the Colombian people for an unforgettable election day” and stressed Cuba’s “unwavering commitment” to “peace in Colombia.”
Cuba played a major role in peace agreements Between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC guerrillas, signed in Havana in November 2016. He also facilitated the development of negotiations in his country between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army. These talks began in Quito in 2017 and were moved to the Cuban capital a year later, by Evan Duke The President of Colombia was inaugurated in August 2018. Those contacts between representatives of the Colombian government and an ELN delegation advanced with few results, as of January 2019, a guerrilla attack on a police academy had killed 22 people.
Duque’s government then requested the immediate surrender of the fighters who were in Havana. Cuba opposed it because it violated the agreements signed before the start of the meetings, which stipulated that if negotiations were disrupted, the guarantor states and the parties would have 15 days to create a corridor allowing return to Colombia. From the delegation of the National Liberation Army. This led to a diplomatic conflict between Bogota and Havana with disastrous consequences. The presence of guerrillas in Cuban territory was used as an excuse by the administration of former US President Donald Trump Re-inclusion of Al Jazeera in the list of countries that do not cooperate in the fight against terrorismTaken by former President Barack Obama.
Sources close to those negotiations with the NLA indicated that although Duque remained at the negotiating table for a few months, he was never really interested in the progress of the peace talks. Now, with the new government of Petro, himself an ex-combatant, the path of dialogue to end the armed conflict in Colombia can be resumed, something that Havana will be ready to support once again.
In April 2020, as a senator, Petro traveled to Cuba for medical treatment. At that time, a cancerous tumor was detected early, and he underwent surgery. “I thank the Center for Medical and Surgical Research (CIMEQ) in Cuba for detecting cancer in the esophagus early and for the surgical intervention. I hope it will not appear again. I thank the Cuban people for their hospitality in the midst of the epidemic and blockade,” he expressed on Twitter.
It is still too early to know what kind of relations Petro will maintain with Cuba, but there is no doubt that her electoral victory is good news for Havana. Many analysts point out that the Colombian president did not unite with the island, neither during the election campaign nor before, as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador did. Yes, he spoke out against the North American embargo and because of his leftist positions, a significant improvement in relations can be expected, but with nuances.
After mass protests in Cuba on July 11 last year, the future Colombian president confined himself to giving his opinion in a message on Twitter: “In Cuba, as in Colombia, social dialogue is imposed. Living societies are those that move and achieve transformations from their dialogue, not of self-destruction.”
The arrival of the first left-wing government in its history in Colombia is very positively appreciated in Cuba, and even more so at a time when Latin America – waiting for elections in Brazil – It seems to be heading towards progressive administrations. For Havana, which saw a host of countries in the region protest Washington’s policy of exclusion during the recent Summit of the Americas as a diplomatic victory, Petro’s diverse pro-American words did not go unnoticed during his first speech on Sunday as he celebrated the election results. In principle, at least, the Cuban government hopes to gain more support in the region in the conflict it has faced with the United States over the course of six decades.
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