U.S. President Donald Trump will make his first visit to Colombia as head of state later this year, the White House has announced.
The stop to meet with new Colombian President Iván Duque will follow the president’s larger trip to Argentina, where he will attend the G20 Summit being held in Buenos Aires from November 30 to December 1.
Photo: During a visit to Washington in May 2017, former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos poses for photos in the White House with U.S. President Donald Trump. (Photo credit: White House)
Trump was originally scheduled to make his Colombian debut appearance earlier this year during a trip to the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru. But he abruptly canceled those travel plans at the last minute, sending U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in his place.
When changing The administration cited the need for the president to remain in Washington to coordinate a planned missile attack on Syria.
Pence did also represent the United States during a stop in Colombia, meeting with former President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogotá. According to the White House, the two men discussed “ways to deepen the close friendship and longstanding partnership” between their nations.
“Vice President Pence thanked President Santos for recent efforts to curb coca cultivation and cocaine production and noted the need to continue to do more,” stated the White House. Santos and Pence also “had a full discussion about their shared commitment to pressure the Maduro regime to restore democracy to Venezuela,” per the White House.
Trump previously met with Santos in Washington in May 2017, just months after his inauguration as U.S. president. He focused his public comments on Colombia’s need to cut coca production and the deepening crisis in Venezuela.
High-ranking U.S. diplomat Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also visited Colombia earlier this month to attend the inauguration of Duque and better assess the Venezuelan migrant crisis in the border city of Cúcuta. While in the city, she announced that the United States would increase its foreign aid for Venezuelans who have fled to Colombia by an additional $9 million USD.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has already met with Duque and other military officials in Colombia to discuss strategies to combat drug-trafficking and other security issues. He came to Bogotá during a larger trip to the continent that included stops in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.