Trump and Santos at the White House: No Discussion Over Challenges Facing Peace Accords
On Thursday May 18th, President Trump and Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia, met at the White House. They exchanged simplified talking points about the rise of coca production in Colombia and the crisis in Venezuela, ignoring issues of greater strife presently occurring in the country as well as the potential challenges facing Colombia’s peace accords. In fact, President Trump hardly mentioned Colombia’s peace accords, ratified by a congressional vote on November 30th, 2016 after its initial referendum loss by a razor-thin margin.
Though Trump has not rescinded U.S. support for the peace agreement, as many have feared, it is clear that socioeconomic or humanitarian concerns related to the peace process are not on his radar. He mentioned the peace agreement only once, when directly questioned about it. He waffled, commending Santos for his “magnificent effort” at crafting peace while avoiding making any significant stance.
Instead, the majority of his comments focused on coca production and the drug trade, highlighting a lack of understanding of the structural complexities that perpetuate violence in Colombia. In a joint press conference, Trump stated that “no area is really more important in terms of cooperation than our joint effort to end the terrible drug crimes that plague both of our countries.” His comments reflected an ongoing adherence to the supply-side eradication efforts that have consistently failed to reduce drug production.