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Doubts Remain Regarding Trump’s Meeting with Former Colombian Presidents

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Apr 21, 2017, 2:40 pm
encuentro entre Pastrana, Uribe y Trump
Donald Trump’s meeting with former Colombian presidents Andres Pastrana and Alvaro Uribe left many doubts in Colombia (Flickr).

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A few days ago, a meeting, or rather a gathering, held between former Colombian presidents Andres Pastrana and Alvaro Uribe with US President Donald Trump was made public. At first, it was speculated that the meeting did not take place, until an unofficial White House source confirmed that such a conversation did take place at the Mar-a-Lago presidential club.

Different versions indicate that the meeting was not planned, but that the former Colombian presidents had been invited to the club and met with President Trump. However, some believe that everything was planned in advance and that the meeting had already been agreed. The only certain fact is that as a result of the meeting certain doubts arose in connection to statements made by journalists Franco Ordoñez and Anita Kumar of El Nuevo Herald.

The meeting’s secrecy was heavily scrutinized. According to the aforementioned journalists, the White House has no record of the meeting, while White House spokesman Sean Spicer refused to answer questions related to the subject, heightening the suspicion of the Colombian press.

Although even those closely involved declined to discuss the matter, former Colombian vice president Francisco “Pacho” Santos, who is close to Alvaro Uribe, said that the Venezuelan crisis was discussed, as well as the concerns that the opposition in Colombia has about the agreement between the government and FARC. Santos described the meeting as short, but with a clear message as outlined by El Nuevo Herald.

 

Journalists are also suspicious as to the coincidence of the meeting with the letter sent by former president and now Senator Alvaro Uribe Velez, in which he again expressed his concerns about the agreement between the FARC and the Colombian regime. The Congress of United States, controlled by the Republicans, now stands to play a pivotal role in the approval of funding for post-conflict Colombia.

President Trump‘s support for the peace process in Colombia remains a wild card. Former President Obama had already said he would offer USD $450 million, but the funding is now in doubt because of the secrecy that the White House has maintained on this issue. President Juan Manuel Santos and Trump are scheduled to meet in May for the first time, where all eyes will be on the peace agreement and Colombo-American response to the political and economic crises in neighboring Venezuela.

Source: El Nuevo Herald

Julián Villabona Galarza Julián Villabona Galarza

Julián is a reporter with the PanAm Post with studies in Politics and International Relations from the University Sergio Arboleda in Colombia. Follow him: @julianvillabona.

Cuba’s Ladies in White Claim Normalization Made Repression Worse

By: Karina Martín - Apr 21, 2017, 2:33 pm
Damas-de-Blanco-piden-a-la-comunidad-internacional-que-vuelquen-sus-miradas-a-Cuba

EspañolThe Cuban opposition group Ladies in White has spoken out again about increased repression against political dissidents on the island. In Miami, Florida this week, the group spoke about the current political situation, which they claim is worsening. "We ask the international community to tell the Castro regime to stop repression in Cuba," the Lady in White member Maria Elena Alpízar said. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   According to the organization, the issue has intensified following cooling relations with the United States in December 2014, and President Barack Obama's approach to opening up the island. "We gave a report (to the Organization of American States) with all the human rights violations that have been committed against us over the past 95 Sundays," she said, claiming there has been some form of repression every weekend. Meanwhile, Leticia Ramos Herreria, another member of the group, asked that the international community step up its oversight of the island. "Look at Cuba. What is happening on the island is hard to handle," Ramos said. "We have Ladies in White in prison, transferred to prisons in other provinces, our children are being imprisoned to weaken the movement. Unfortunately, what is happening in Cuba, is very hard." The group believes the Cuban government is out to "destroy" the organization. "By arresting Ladies in White, high ranking officials in the regime have let us know that we already cease to exist," Ramos said, "that we can't continue on Cuban streets, that we must come to an end." Despite repression by the Cuban regime, the group said it will continue to be active on the streets and not relinquich its demand for the freeing of political prisoners. "Let it be very clear to the regime that we are willing to go to jail if necessary," Ramos said, "because we are not going to give up our fight ... We will continue, no matter what." Sources: Cubanet; El Nuevo Herald.

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