July 07, 2021

Grupo Bipartidista de Senadores Reafirman la Importancia de la Relación Entre Estados Unidos y Colombia; Expresan Preocupación por Represión Contra Manifestantes

“La alianza entre Estados Unidos y Colombia y la seguridad del pueblo colombiano deben continuar transcendiendo afiliación partidista y filosofía política”.

WASHINGTON – El Senador Bob Menéndez (D-N.J.), el Presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado, acompañado por los Senadores Tim Kaine (D-Va.) y Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), el Presidente y el Miembro de Más Alto Rango en el Subcomité sobre el Hemisferio Occidental, hoy lideraron a 10 de sus colegas del Senado en reafirmar el apoyo del Congreso a la relación bilateral entre Estados Unidos y Colombia. En una carta al Presidente Joe Biden, los senadores recalcaron la importancia del país como el mayor aliado estratégico de los Estados Unidos en toda Latinoamérica y el Caribe, lo importante de continuar apoyando los esfuerzos de Colombia para controlar el COVID-19, así como la necesidad de implementar plenamente el acuerdo de paz que puso fin a la guerra civil.

Citando los efectos agravantes del paro nacional que ha durado meses en respuesta a las desigualdades sociales y económicas en Colombia, los senadores también subrayaron la importancia de salvaguardar los derechos humanos, la democracia y la estabilidad regional en respuesta a los crecientes episodios de brutalidad policial y violencia contra manifestantes por parte de las fuerzas de seguridad colombianas, así como también por civiles armados.

“El pueblo colombiano se enfrenta a una combinación de desafíos sin precedentes y es importante que Estados Unidos demuestre su apoyo inquebrantable con ellos en esta delicada coyuntura”, escribieron los senadores al Presidente Biden. “Le urgimos ampliar los esfuerzos de acercamiento a nuestro aliado democrático a medida que el gobierno colombiano busca avanzar la protección del estado del derecho y los derechos humanos de todos los colombianos, al mismo tiempo que también hace esfuerzos para aliviar los impactos sociales y económicos de la pandemia de COVID-19 y el legado de la guerra civil más larga de las Américas”.

Aparte de delinear el impacto de la pandemia del coronavirus, la cuál impulsó a 3.6 millones de colombianos a la pobreza el año pasado, y los más de dos millones de refugiados venezolanos que se vieron obligados a huir a Colombia debido al régimen de Maduro, los senadores también mantuvieron su apoyo firme a la implementación sin retrasos del acuerdo de paz del 2016 para acabar con más de 50 años de guerra civil en Colombia.

“Como usted bien sabe, el camino hacia una paz duradera es largo e incierto – un acuerdo por sí solo no puede ser exitoso sin el compromiso a su plena implementación por todas las partes involucradas”, agregaron los senadores. “Queda claro que el apoyo genuino al proceso de paz por todos los partícipes es el mejor camino para asegurar que Colombia no recaiga en conflicto y pueda enfrentar con más éxito el narcotráfico. Con este fin, expresamos nuestro compromiso sostenido en apoyo a los esfuerzos de Colombia para forjar una paz duradera”.

Acompañando a los Senadores Menéndez, Kaine y Rubio también firmaron la carta los Senadores Ben Cardin (D-Md.) y Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), co-presidentes del Equipo de Trabajo para Colombia del Atlantic Council, y los senadores Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), y Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.).

Encuentre una copia de la carta AQUÍ. 

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Bipartisan Group of Senators Reaffirm Importance of U.S.-Colombia Relationship; Express Concern Over Recent Crackdown on Demonstrators

The U.S.-Colombia partnership and the security of the Colombian people must continue to transcend party affiliation and political philosophy.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menéndez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the SFRC Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, in leading 10 of their Senate colleagues to reaffirm Congressional support for the U.S.-Colombia bilateral relationship.  In a letter to President Joe Biden, the Senators underscored the country’s significance as the United States’ biggest strategic partner in Latin America and the Caribbean, the importance of continued support for Colombia’s efforts to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, as well as the need to fully implement the peace agreement that ended the country’s civil war.

Citing the compounding effects of a months-long nationwide strike over social and economic inequalities in Colombia, the Senators also raised the importance of helping safeguard human rights, democracy, and stability in the region following growing episodes of police brutality and violence against demonstrators by Colombian security forces as well as armed civilians.    

“The Colombian people are facing an unprecedented combination of challenges and it is important that the United States demonstrate its unwavering support for them at this critical juncture,” wrote the Senators to President Biden. “We urge you to expand engagement with our democratic partner as the Colombian government moves forward in protecting the rule of law and human rights for all Colombians, while striving to alleviate the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the legacy of the longest civil war in the Americas.”

In addition to identifying the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which pushed 3.6 million Colombians into poverty last year, and the more than two million Venezuelan refugees forced to flee to Colombia due to the Maduro regime, the Senators also maintained their support for the unimpeded implementation of the 2016 peace accord to end over 50 years of civil war in Colombia.

“As you know, the road to lasting peace is long and uncertain—an agreement on its own cannot succeed without the commitment of all parties to its full implementation,” the Senators continued. “It is clear that genuine support for a peace process by all sides is the best path forward to ensure that Colombia does not return to conflict and can more successfully confront illicit narcotics trafficking. To this end, we express our sustained commitment to supporting Colombia’s efforts to build a lasting peace.”

Joining Senators Menendez, Kaine and Rubio in signing the letter were Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.),  co-chairs of the Atlantic Council’s Colombia Task Force, and Senators Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.).

Find a copy of the letter HERE and below.

Dear President Biden:

We write to express our concern over the situation in Colombia, a country that stands as the United States’ most important partner in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Colombian people are facing an unprecedented combination of challenges and it is important that the United States demonstrate its unwavering support for them at this critical juncture. We urge you to expand engagement with our democratic partner as the Colombian government moves forward in protecting the rule of law and human rights for all Colombians, while striving to alleviate the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the legacy of the longest civil war in the Americas.

For more than two decades, Colombia has enjoyed strong bipartisan support from the United States and has provided a vital source of stability in the region despite considerable challenges. In response to the influx into Colombia of nearly two million refugees and migrants fleeing the brutal Maduro regime in Venezuela, Colombians have provided unparalleled generosity and willingness to host them.  Colombian authorities have cooperated with American agencies to combat transnational criminal organizations and illegal armed groups whose drug trade brings with it a terrible cost to both of our countries.

However, with the country facing a third wave of the COVID-19 virus, Colombia is now seeking to resolve nationwide demonstrations sparked by the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, which pushed 3.6 million Colombians into poverty last year. As thousands of Colombians have taken to the streets, the intermittent shutdown of key roads, damage to public infrastructure and ongoing violent clashes has limited vaccine distribution across the country and ultimately set back earnest efforts to address the Colombian people’s needs. It is critical that all parties continue engaging in meaningful dialogue and negotiation, and establish mechanisms to ensure follow through.

The United States, under your leadership, can play a helpful role in accompanying and supporting Colombia. The U.S.-Colombia partnership and the security of the Colombian people must continue to transcend party affiliation and political philosophy. Our relationship is rooted in shared democratic values and a shared interest in promoting peace and stability for Colombia, its neighbors, and the whole region.

That is why, during this period of unrest, we have been concerned by incidents of violence against protesters. We welcome that the Colombian government has condemned cases of human rights abuses and support its commitment to thoroughly investigate incidents of excessive use of force and abuses by Colombian security forces, as well as significant evidence of civilians using lethal weapons against peaceful protestors. We are supportive of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ engagement on these issues in order to promote the defense of human rights and investigate the recent incidents.

As you know, the road to lasting peace is long and uncertain—an agreement on its own cannot succeed without the commitment of all parties to its full implementation. Since 2016, many of us have traveled to Colombia to observe implementation of the peace process. It is clear that genuine support for a peace process by all sides is the best path forward to ensure that Colombia does not return to conflict and can more successfully confront illicit narcotics trafficking. To this end, we express our sustained commitment to supporting Colombia’s efforts to build a lasting peace.

In 2020, you referred to Colombia as the “keystone” of U.S. policy towards Latin America. We agree and urge high-level attention to this unfolding and complicated situation. We respectfully request that you direct the State Department and USAID to prioritize assisting Colombia in resolving this crisis. The United States must stand by our partner’s side in the interest of upholding human rights, democracy, and stability in the region.

Sincerely, 

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Press Contact

Juan Pachon