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The triumph of the extremist Gustavo Petro in Colombia is a blow to stability. Things have changed for everyone as this undoubted milestone generates more concern and uncertainty than tranquility.
In particular, Petro arrives at the Palacio de Nariño with the intention of reforming the fight against criminal groups, made up of drug trafficking cartels and guerrilla gangs. Instead of persecuting them and imposing justice by force, Petro proposes to negotiate with the criminals, as he has already done with the terrorist group National Liberation Army (ELN).
Plan Colombia and a socialist regime in Venezuela
Since the late 1990s — when the so-called Plan Colombia began under the governments of Andres Pastrana and Bill Clinton — the South American nation and the U.S. have been strategic and military partners. This alliance has served not only to turn Colombia into a prosperous and modern country, but also to neutralize criminal groups that were also doing much harm to the United States.
With the criminal development of the Chavista dictatorship in Venezuela — which has sheltered in its territory Colombian groups such as the FARC, the ELN, other domestic groups such as the Chavista collectives (and some more exotic ones such as Hezbollah) — the alliance between Colombia and Venezuela has become more important.
Specifically, until August 7, Colombia represented a retaining wall for all regional destabilization operations planned from Venezuela. I say until August 7 because on that day Gustavo Petro was sworn in as the new president of Colombia.
Petro, who has already announced an ambassador to Caracas, will open the doors to all those operations from Venezuela. In addition, he will completely reform cooperation with the United States, as he already hinted in his inaugural speech.
During a congress in the coastal City of Cartagena, the White House advisor for the Western Hemisphere, Colombian Juan González, said that “40 years ago the United States would have done everything possible to prevent the election of Gustavo Petro and, once elected, would have done everything possible to sabotage him.”
“It doesn’t matter the ideology or where a government is in the political spectrum,” Gonzalez added.
Although he says it with pride, as a supposed sign of the maturing of the United States in the affairs of its neighbors, the words of Juan Gonzalez are nothing more than a dangerous sign of disdain, apathy, and short-sightedness on the part of the White House.
Under the guise of non-intervention, the United States is allowing its backyard to be taken over by deeply anti-American leaders who will open the doors to those who want to tear New York or Los Angeles to shreds.
Consequences of American inaction
America’s retreat does not leave gaps or empty spaces, as some might believe. When the United States is not there, its enemies are there. And then, it is Iran, China, or Russia who come in, make agreements, build military bases and develop their destabilization operations.
Petro has already shown his willingness to strengthen relations with the Arab world. If we add Venezuela, it is clear that a dangerous cocktail of gunpowder is being prepared that could explode in the face of this administration, or whoever inherits this disaster.
And it is not that the United States should retake the Monroe Doctrine or Roosevelt’s corollary. It is that the United States should be more concerned about what is happening, especially in its own backyard. Not with the purpose of solving the problems of its neighbors, that is clear, but with the intention of watching over the integrity of its interests and its security.
An example of this was the exemplary foreign policy of former President Donald Trump who, without starting a single conflict and without sending troops to any new country, blew up the second of Iran, the head of ISIS, imposed sanctions on Venezuela for human rights violations, suspended the thaw with Cuba and confronted the Chinese advance.
Biden, on the other hand, has done the opposite. His erratic foreign policy, which already drags along the failures of Afghanistan, Ukraine, the strengthening of Iran, and an emboldened China, is a consequence of his stubborn will to do the opposite of what Trump did.
When I interviewed Cato scholar and researcher Daniel Raisbeck, he told me that if Petro wins in Colombia, it would be a foreign policy failure of the Americans the size of what happened in Afghanistan.
Just as with the advance of the Taliban, the Biden administration is showing its apathy in the face of the advance of the extreme left in Latin America. And Juan Gonzalez’s confession seals the record: they don’t care what happens in Colombia. Forty years ago, when the world was a safer place with Reagan in the White House, they would have cared. Not today.
Orlando Avendaño is the co-editor-in-chief of El American. He is a Venezuelan journalist and has studies in the History of Venezuela. He is the author of the book Days of submission // Orlando Avendaño es el co-editor en Jefe de El American. Es periodista venezolano y cuenta con estudios en Historia de Venezuela. Es autor del libro Días de sumisión.