What is the impact of the US elections in Colombia?

Here are three points on which the election of Joe Biden can affect the Colombian political landscape.

Ivan Duque and Joe Biden

With the recent election of Joe Biden as president of the United States, the relationship of this country with Colombia may change. / Photos: Reuters, TW / JoeBiden

LatinAmerican Post | Staff

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Leer en español: ¿Qué impacto tiene el resultado de las elecciones estadounidenses en Colombia?

At the beginning of this week, and after a week of counting the votes, Joe Biden's victory in the United States presidential elections was finally official. Although the Latino vote was fundamental to these results, this category is more diverse than is thought, since "the Latino vote" covers an entire population that has migrated at different times in history, from different Latin American countries, of different ages and ideologies. Thus, the so-called Latino vote is far from being homogeneous and is rather complex and diverse, like the countries of Latin America.

Many Latinos, for example, vote based on what the election results may bring to their country of origin. That is why today, we analyze three points on which these elections affect the specific case of Colombia.


Will the Colombian ambassador to the United States change?

Felicito al Presidente electo @JoeBiden y la Vicepresidente electa @KamalaHarris. Seguiremos trabajando con entusiasmo por nuestra agenda común, tal y como le hemos hecho siempre. Juntos, miramos hacia el futuro con optimismo.

— Pacho Santos (@PachoSantosC) November 7, 2020

Currently, Francisco Santos is the one who holds the position of Colombian ambassador to the United States. During the presidential campaign of the North American country, his cousin, former president Juan Manuel Santos, denounced that the ambassador had been actively campaigning for candidate Donald Trump and has reiterated it on La W Radio after the results of the contest were known. This has made us wonder if, after Trump's defeat, Francisco Santos will continue to serve as ambassador.

Faced with this question, the ambassador himself has declared that he will be there until President Iván Duque orders it. He was also the official government delegate to react in interviews to Biden's victory, which makes us suspect that, at least for the short term, he will continue in the same position.

Also read: How important are Latinos in US elections?


Glyphosate spraying and the war on drugs

Another issue that has concerned relations between the United States and Colombia for several decades has been the war on drugs. Colombian President Iván Duque has been tough from the beginning of his term on this issue and is in favor of spraying with glyphosate to combat the production of illicit crops. With President Donald Trump, the atmosphere around glyphosate spraying was favorable and, in fact, earlier this year House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to ask the president to stop support for this initiative in Colombia.

While the speech of Joe Biden, the new president-elect, is also firmly for the war on drugs (this has been many times a priority in the government plan of Republican and Democratic US presidents alike), his environmental discourse also prevails, unlike that of candidate Trump. Thus, the concern for caring for the environment that Joe Biden has demonstrated in speeches may make him think twice about fully supporting glyphosate spraying.

Also read: The difference in the environmental agenda of Donald Trump and Joe Biden

The discourse around the peace accords

Finally, we suspect that the discourse regarding the peace accords may change. Without a doubt, the promise of the continuation of the policies of former President Barack Obama was very important in Joe Biden's campaign. In this vein, it is likely that the White House discourse regarding the Colombian peace accords will change, because, during the term of Juan Manuel Santos and the signing of the agreement, the international support promoted by then-President Obama was unparalleled.  At that time, Biden was Obama's vice president, so he will probably demand that President Iván Duque complies with the agreement that Santos signed. We will see.


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