Office of the Spokesperson
“The United States values our friendship with Colombia – a relationship rooted in a shared set of values, a commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental human rights.”
— U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, October 9, 2019
Secretary Pompeo will travel to Colombia on January 19 to speak at the Third Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial in Bogota and participate in bilateral meetings with senior officials from Colombia and other countries. The Secretary will reaffirm the strong U.S. partnership with Colombia to address peace and security for citizens, to counter narcotics production and trafficking, and to discuss the humanitarian crisis of Venezuelan refugees.
COUNTERTERRORISM SUMMIT TO CONFRONT SHARED THREATS
- The United States will join 20 nations in Bogota to broaden and deepen bilateral and multilateral counterterrorism cooperation in the Western Hemisphere. This engagement follows two previous Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial meetings hosted in Washington, D.C., in December 2018 and in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July 2019.
- The Ministerial will address Iran-backed terrorist proxy Hizballah’s activities in the hemisphere. Paraguay, Brazil, and Peru have arrested Hizballah operatives in the past several years on terrorism, money laundering, and other criminal charges.
- Argentina and Paraguay have adopted designations regimes and sanctioned Hizballah and other terrorist groups within the past year, while Honduras and Guatemala have stated their intent to designate Hizballah. We applaud this progress and encourage other countries to follow these examples.
- Ministerial participants will also discuss the Maduro regime’s hosting of ELN, FARC dissidents, and Hizballah sympathizers in Venezuela. The U.S. government has certified Venezuela as “not fully cooperating with U.S. anti-terrorism” efforts annually since 2006.
- Ministerial participants will also commemorate the one-year anniversary of an attack by the ELN terrorist group on a police barrack in Bogota, killing 22 cadets.
ADVANCING COMMON SECURITY GOALS
- The United States and Colombia enjoy a long-standing friendship. We officially recognized Colombia as an independent state in 1822, and our first diplomatic presence in Colombia was established in 1823.
- Colombia continues to be a strong partner for the United States on security issues, including counterterrorism and counternarcotics. We are working together to reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production by 50 percent by the end of 2023. President Duque recently announced that, with substantial U.S. assistance, Colombia eradicated more than 100,000 hectares of coca in 2019.
- The United States strongly supports Colombia’s comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy for addressing the coca/cocaine problem, which focuses on dismantling criminal organizations, reducing drug supply and demand, combating money laundering, and increasing state presence and economic opportunity in poor rural areas, where narcotics trafficking thrives.
OUR PARTNERSHIP, ROOTED IN DEMOCRATIC VALUES, SUPPORTS PEACE AND PROSPERITY
- Colombia is a key U.S. partner in ongoing efforts to help Venezuela in its return to democracy and economic prosperity. Colombia’s leadership has been essential in coordinating regional support for Interim President Juan Guaido, as well as condemning Maduro’s misrule and adopting policies to isolate his regime, including in the OAS and Lima Group.
- The U.S. government has spent more than $251 million to help Colombia address the Venezuelan crisis and support the estimated 1.63 million Venezuelan refugees that Colombia hosts.
- Since 2016, the United States has provided more than one billion dollars in direct and indirect support to peace implementation – by far the largest contribution of any international actor.
- The United States is Colombia’s largest trade and investment partner, with large investments in the mining and manufacturing sectors. Colombia is the United States’ third-largest trade partner in Latin America, with two-way goods trade of $29 billion in 2018. U.S.-owned affiliates account for more than 90,000 jobs in Colombia.
- We are building on our mutual success under the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA). U.S. agriculture exports have more than doubled under the CTPA, reaching a record level of $2.91 billion in 2018. Such trade benefits both the United States and the Colombian people.