Colombia needs our help

Colombia has persevered against armed conflict, violence, terrorists, and narcotraffickers. It is now managing a massive influx of migrants from Venezuela. But a new challenge has emerged.

Current violent protests in Colombia are extremely concerning. This should be a signal that frustration regarding the pandemic could threaten democracies overseas. Any disruption to next year’s Colombian presidential elections could significantly affect the region. Therefore, the United States should implement a bold plan to protect the important gains made in Colombia.

Next year will mark the 200th anniversary of the bilateral relationship. In recent years, Colombia has become an international leader in its own right. It became NATO’s first partner from Latin America and joined the organization for Economic Coorporation and Development. Colombia has also become our 25th-largest goods trading partner , at $28.9 billion annually. And next year is the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement’s coming into force.

Colombian President Ivan Duque took bold and courageous action by granting temporary protected status to more than 1.8 million Venezuelans in Colombia. The international community and both sides of the aisle in Congress have praised this decision, but we must go further with a vigorous, bipartisan development initiative.

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