In a statement issued last Thursday, President Donald Trump praised the progress made by the Colombian government against drug trafficking. Trump praised the government’s fumigation efforts, offering words of encouragement to a nation long plagued by drug-related violence.
Trump: Colombia Making Progress on Drug War
Trump, whose hard-line stance on drug trafficking has had far-reaching implications, had initially criticized Colombian president Ivan Duque, citing record levels of drug exportation. In 2017, the American president even went as far as to consider “decertifying” the country under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which would have severely limited the assistance funds received by the developing nation, according to Business Insider. Fortunately, President Trump declined to carry out this threat.
Now, Trump has credited the Duque government for its concerted effort to restart its aerial eradication program, saying the program must be “continued and expanded.” The document released by the White House also highlighted the need for the US government to “work with [its] Colombian partners to reach our joint 5-year goal to reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production by half by the end of 2023.”
Colombia has traditionally been one of the United States’ strongest allies in the Latin American region, and it is likely that the ambitious plan to halve cocaine production will continue to increase interest in Colombia as both a travel destination and a safe location for foreign investment. As Colombia works to look beyond its sordid past, its position in the region and in the world will continue to improve.
Situated in a strategic location at the juncture of Central and South America, Colombia benefits from an abundance of natural resources, a strongly pro-investment government under President Ivan Duque, and a burgeoning tourist industry. Nonetheless, foreign interest in the country has been somewhat dissuaded by the persistent and recurring conflicts between the government and Communist guerrillas, who fund their operations with drug money. Although a peace agreement was signed between the government and the FARC in 2016, groups of holdout militants continue to cause problems in certain sectors. The government has instituted a new campaign of aerial raids against drug producers which has seen significant progress.
The prospect of further cooperation between the United States and Colombia is welcome news for potential investors, curious tourists, and most importantly for the Colombians themselves, who for decades have suffered from drug-related violence. It is certain that all parties involved are looking forward to a serious reduction in drug trafficking and a safer, more prosperous Colombia.
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