Colombian President-elect Gustavo Petro spoke Tuesday with US President Joe Biden, according to the newly-elected head of state.
“On the road to a more intense and normal diplomatic relationship I have just held a very friendly conversation with US President Biden,” Petro wrote on Twitter, two days after winning the election. “In his words, a more equitable relationship for the benefit of both peoples.”
Petro has promised to tackle widespread inequality, hunger and poverty, redistribute Colombia’s pension system and end oil exploration.
“President Biden commended the Colombian people for holding free and fair elections and reaffirmed US support for Colombia,” the White House said in a statement Monday.
Some of the main topics discussed were climate change, health security and the implementation of a 2016 peace accord with FARC rebels.
“President Biden also welcomed the opportunity to discuss bilateral security and counternarcotics cooperation,” it said.
Some fear that Petro’s rise to power could jeopardize the relationship between Washington and Bogota. Colombia has long been the United States’ strongest ally in the region but the new president’s idea not to support the US-led war on drugs and change free trade agreements could lead to a rupture in the relationship.
Five months after Biden came to power, he had not spoken with outgoing Colombian President Ivan Duque, which led many to speculate that the US’ close ally in the region had no support in Washington.
The estrangement allegedly occurred after Duque´s right-wing party supported Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the 2020 US presidential elections.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has already congratulated the Colombian people “for exercising their right to vote and reaffirming the strength of their democracy.”
“We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with President-elect Gustavo Petro and building a more democratic and equitable hemisphere,” said Blinken, who spoke to Petro on Monday.
The win by Petro marks another victory in Latin America for left-wing governments, including in Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Chile.
Petro will be sworn-in Aug. 7.