With less than two months to go in the 2020 U.S Presidential election campaign, incumbent Donald Trump slammed his predecessor Barack Obama, rival Joe Biden and Colombia’s former President Juan Manuel Santos for sealing a “terrible treaty with the Colombian drug cartels […] and who surrendered to narco-terrorists.”
Trump’s words at a Florida campaign event, where he also affirmed that the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla resulted in a surge of illicit drugs, were not well received with representatives of the former government who signed the Final Accord in 2016. Among the critics of Trump’s accusations is former Chief Peace Negotiator Humberto de la Calle, calling it “unacceptable” and Santos’ Minister of Foreign Relations, María Angela Holguín, who claims the U.S leader “does not know the history of our country, and what we have suffered in war.”
Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for ending a half-century-long internal conflict with FARC, which killed more than 260,000. Since the signing of the Final Accord, an estimated 3,000 demobilized combatants returned to the armed conflict as FARC dissidents including two former senior negotiators, aliases Iván Márquez and Jesús Santrich.
In a speech to rouse the Hispanic vote, Trump presided over a round table discussion in Miami where he also backed former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez for having defended his country from the advance of “castro-chavismo,” while taking advantage of the staunchly Republican audience to lambaste the former Bogotá Mayor and Senator Gustavo Petro as a “socialist” and “ex-member of the M-19 guerrilla.”
Petro scoffed at Trump’s remarks that he supports Joe Biden for President saying on Blu Radio that because he rose from the rank and file of M-19, “the majority of the Latino population in Miami and Florida does not know what the M-19 is, so they imagine Pablo Escobar and get scared.” Petro was a militant of the M-19 guerrilla during the storming of the Palace of Justice in 1985 and which was financed by the Medellín Cartel to destroy evidence of Escobar’s extensive drug trafficking and money laundering operations. “The true Pablo Escobar is in power today in Colombia,” deflected Petro of his past, accusing instead President Iván Duque of having receiving campaign financing from an alleged drug trafficker and cattle rancher José “El Ñeñe” Hernández.