United by mutual admiration and a close ideological affinity, the presidents of Chile, Gabriel Boric, and of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, are meeting this Monday in Santiago in an appointment to strengthen the ties staged by the new progressive winds blowing in South America.
The Colombian president arrives in the Chilean capital for his first official visit to the country after meeting his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas on Saturday, with whom he embarked on a path to reorient relations after almost a decade marked by the blockade of the United States and their allies.
A strategy that has contributed to the impoverishment and instability of the oil-rich nation and has unleashed an acute migration and humanitarian crisis throughout South America which has mainly affected Colombia and Chile, the latter a country that has always been excluded from migration flows irregular.
Irregular migration, which both Petro and Boric consider a regional problem in need of “regional solutions”, and relations with Venezuela, deteriorated during the previous administrations of both countries, will be one of the important chapters of a visit which “will seek to strengthen the links between like-minded governments,” they said efe sources at La Moneda.
An affinity that is also perceived on other fronts, such as the fight against the climate emergency, the promotion of the women’s agenda, the defense of the oceans, regional integration and collaboration, and the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime, two serious problems which, like irregular migration, are also new in Chile.
The harmony and mutual admiration of the two leaders was already evident during the inauguration ceremony of Petro, which was attended by Boric, and during the return to the Brazilian presidency of Lula da Silva, another of the leaders of the region with whom both they feel close, like the Argentine Alberto Fernández.
And it is that South America is experiencing what experts have called “the fuchsia tide”, a progressive renaissance similar to the one experienced at the beginning of this century to which has been added the defense of the planet and equality, both gender , economic and social .
All of them will face each other on January 24 in Buenos Aires during the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), to which Petro and Boric arrive with a common desire already expressed separately: that of greater integration and cooperation in regional forums to address the current challenges.
A very formal visit
The Colombian president is expected to land at 02:00 on Monday local time (05:00 GMT) in Santiago, where he will be received with honors before laying a wreath on the grave of independence leader Bernardo O’Higgings.
From there he is expected to depart for the presidential palace in La Moneda, where a small military parade will be held before both exchange decorations and make a joint press release.
Petro will also meet the presidents of the Senate, Álvaro Elizalde Soto, and of the Chamber of Deputies, Vlado Mirosevic, as well as the mayor of the City of Santiago, Irací Hassler, who will give him the keys to the city and will declare him an illustrious guest.
Petro will visit the Palace of the Courts of Justice on Tuesday, where he will meet with the head of Chile’s Supreme Court, before returning to Bogotá.
Without an economic agenda and in the midst of Chile’s political crisis
Despite the fact that Chile is the largest South American investor in Colombia and the fourth largest recipient of Colombian capital in the region, after Brazil, Argentina and Peru, and that both have a free trade agreement (FTA) in force since 2009, on the agenda of The visit does not include commercial activities
Petro also comes at the height of Chile’s political crisis, the second that the Boric government has faced since it took over the leadership of the state last March.
The Chilean president announced this Saturday the resignations of Justice Minister, Marcela Ríos, and her head of cabinet, Matías Meza-Lopehandía, both members of Social Convergence, one of the parties of the Frente Amplio left-wing coalition, requested by the opposition after the controversy over the controversial end-of-year presidential pardons.
In the first, which took place in September after the triumph of the rejection of the referendum to amend the Constitution written during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), Boric was forced to make a change and bet on a more moderate cabinet and strategy.