With the assistance of 25 countries, Colombia began last Monday the III Hemispheric Ministerial Conference to Combat Terrorism .
Installation of the III Hemispheric Ministerial Conference to Combat Terrorism. / Photo: David Romo – Presidency
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez
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Leer en español: Llegó a Colombia la Conferencia Antiterrorismo
The third edition of this conference is held in Colombia and has the presence of 25 countries, in which the United States is included, with the representation of its Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Venezuela, with the representation of the president in charge Juan Guaidó.
The event is held at the Francisco de Paula Santander General Police Cadet School and also has the leadership of the current Colombian Foreign Minister, Claudia Blum. The anti-terrorism conference arrives at the Santander General School just one year after an attack the ELN committed in which 22 cadets died, so the summit will also revolve around the need to fight with the country's armed groups .
In addition to Colombia, the United States and Venezuela, the other participants are Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.
According to the Semana Magazine, “the meeting examines how to strengthen international cooperation and its effectiveness in the fight against terrorism, and will review proposals to make the existing mechanisms at regional and global level more efficient against threats and challenges of international terrorism ”.
One of the main topics to be discussed will be the armed groups in Colombia, such as the presence of the ELN in the country and the possible presence of it in other countries of the region, illegal crops and the political situation in Venezuela. These issues were first discussed at the meeting that opened the conference on Monday, January 20, where Mike Pompeo participated.
At the meeting, Pompeo spoke about the importance it represents for countries to fight for the establishment of democracy and free elections in Venezuela , also affirming the need to “end the tyranny of Nicolás Maduro, which has an impact not only on Venezuelans but throughout the region. "
Transnational terrorist groups, including #Iran-backed Hizballah, are still active in the Western Hemisphere. Today’s third Counterterrorism Ministerial is another important step in bolstering our collective efforts to fight these dangerous threats to freedom in the region. pic.twitter.com/jJC1b9gCRg
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 20, 2020
The US Secretary of State said that during the event "We talked about our joint commitment to work against drug trafficking and organized crime." He also congratulated Colombia for its efforts in eradicating illicit crops, as well as its commitment to the more than 1.6 million Venezuelan migrants they have received in recent months.
Iván Duque also took part in this meeting and talked about the importance of continuing the fight against drug trafficking, which he stressed that his government has done. “In 2019, Colombia reached a record number of manual eradication, seizures and laboratory destruction. We need a lot, but we need to improve our capabilities every day, "said the Colombian president.
Juan Guaidó's assistance
As is well known, the president in charge of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, has had close ties with the Colombian president, Iván Duque, since Colombia has recognized the Venezuelan as the legitimate president of the neighboring country.
Therefore, the presence of Guaidó at this summit may be hardly normal, in which Venezuela will be discussed, among other issues. However, the president in charge is forbidden to leave Venezuela, so his stay in Colombia could mean a challenge when he returned to his country, which had happened months ago. The ban is based on a series of investigations that the president has opened by authorities loyal to the regime of Nicolás Maduro.
During his stay in Colombia, Guaidó also met with the Colombian government to discuss important issues among neighboring nations such as the flow of migrants from Venezuela to Colombia.
Generaremos las condiciones que nos conducirán a la Libertad. Y les aseguro que la vuelta a nuestro país estará llena de buenas noticias.
¡Vamos Venezuela! https://t.co/dqvKldnoQm
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) January 19, 2020
But the arrival of Guaidó represents much more than a challenge to the government of Nicolás Maduro. The departure of this is part of the tour that will take the next few days to strengthen his relations with the other countries that support him and have declared him the legitimate president of Venezuela.
In the first place, his presence at the anti-terrorist summit is seen as a sign that the Venezuelan deputy seeks to put the regime of Nicolás Maduro as a figure in international terrorism issues. The National Assembly of Venezuela, chaired by Guaidó, published a statement referring to his visit to Colombia in which he stated that "the Venezuelan dictatorship protects ELN terrorism and the direct and indirect financing of Venezuelan gold, also called blood gold."
The same statement addresses about the trip that Guaidó undertakes for the next few days, in which he seeks “international support to face the dictatorship that has links to terrorism”.
Juan Guaidó also announced that he will participate in the World Economic Forum, or economic forum of Davos, in Switzerland, next Thursday. The day before he will be meeting with Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.