The proclamation of Joe Biden as the new president of the United States has been on the lips of the political leaders of the world because of the geopolitical importance of that country.
For Colombia, the relationship with the United States is perhaps the main issue on the international agenda, since with that country there are close ties on issues such as anti-drug policy, the handling of the crisis in Venezuela and recently the Havana agreement.
Precisely, taking into account the strategic importance that this country has for Colombia, former President Álvaro Uribe issued a document in which he analyzes the challenges facing Biden as the new head of state.
This is the analysis of the former president and natural head of the Democratic Center, the base party of the coalition:
Some Challenges Awaiting President Biden
President Biden was instrumental in the Senate for the approval of Plan Colombia, promoted by Ambassador Luís Alberto Moreno and agreed by the Clinton and Pastrana administrations.
Plan Colombia showed an irreplaceable utility in the fight against narco-terrorism, it was the support for the magnificent support received from President Bush and that the Obama administration continued until 2012. This year the Government of Colombia, bored by the success of
having managed to drop to 42 thousand hectares, a record reduction, changed the entire policy to please the terrorist group Farc and began the countdown that led to more than 200 thousand hectares that showed more than a thousand tons of the alkaloid.
Without the support of the United States and delegate Aronson, the signing with the FARC would have been different. When the No won the plebiscite, the United States, with the authority of having upheld the Havana agreement, could play a role in the national pact that we proposed, but they did not. Total impunity was consummated, which in the name of Peace has brought more violence sponsored by drug trafficking.
The help of the new North American Government will be essential so that President Duque can overcome the obstacles inherited and advance effectively in the elimination of narco-terrorism. The elimination of drugs, hand in hand with the paid care of the jungle, the Amazon, for example, is an imperative that requires the full support of the Biden Government.
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s tyranny has stabilized despite the severe sanctions imposed by President Trump. One factor in that stability is the financing of drug trafficking and the support of terrorist groups in Colombia.
Maduro’s threat is the closest the United States has had after the missile crisis with the Soviet Union. This was during the cold war a conventional attack challenge. Maduro hosts terrorists of different types, all declared
enemies of the United States. The tyrannical regime takes dialogue as a game to reinforce itself. The change of Maduro for another figure would not repeal the regime. Without democratic freedoms and without new rules of trust for private initiative, Venezuela will continue with more misery and more risk for Colombia and the United States.
President Trump’s policy of direct dialogue and withdrawal appeared to dissuade North Korea from the nuclear adventure, yet recent news of long-range missile tests once again sets the alarm bells over this country.
The middle east:
Although Syria produces less news, it gives the impression of a protracted humanitarian death from starvation.
May the agreements of the Arab Emirates and Bahrain with Israel contribute to a definitive peace with Palestine.
The social and economic risk for some Arab countries cannot be ignored as oil substitution proceeds.
In Latin America, the pandemic will lose at least 10 years of poverty reduction. The countries have greatly increased their indebtedness, also the requirements of new credits and they see less possibilities of obtaining them.
Those countries that do go to the markets will face caution from lenders and alarms from risk raters. It is not known whether China will maintain or expand its portfolio in the region. Local and sub-regional banks are small in the face of the challenge. Brazil with its development bank can look more to the region. Chile and Colombia will surely protect themselves somewhat with pension funds.
The role of the United States will be crucial in the World Bank, WB, linked to the Monetary Fund, IMF, and in the Inter-American Bank, IDB. In the latter, the United States holds 30% (approximate) of the shares and was final in the capitalization of 2010, still in our Government. The IDB disbursed more than 16 billion dollars in loans and investments in 2019. This year, due to the economic effects of the pandemic, it is close to 22 billion, when the two items are added. However, this figure will not be
sustainable due to the level of its capital and the downgrading of many countries. What a difficult and necessary challenge the new capitalization!
In the World Bank, the United States has the largest vote and veto power. This year it has distributed more than 4.5 billion dollars between Latin America and the Caribbean.
Everything indicates that the issuance of securities by our countries when they go to the financial market is greater than the disbursements of the multilaterals, which is unsustainable.
The leadership of the United States in both banks will be urgent because many of our countries do not have different sources of credit, especially in the conjuncture. As for raising taxes, some may do so on the wealthiest sectors, without excesses that slow down private initiative.
The connection between poverty and migration to the United States indicates that the more social care in the region, the less pressure to enter the United States.
The debt of the United States:
The debt of the United States in 2012 was approximately 74% of GDP. In 2021 it will exceed the size of its product. Your status as a lender and borrower for the dollar, your currency, is not without concern. The need for economic recovery, which shows a lot of speed, will also regulate the space to raise taxes. These issues will influence the role of the United States in multilateral organizations to help tackle poverty in Latin America.
President Biden has been an outstanding member of the bipartisan coalition against Colombia
The United States has overcome its dependence on fuel importers. Fracking has contributed to this, but the challenge, regardless of political positions, is to find how to do it without polluting water and without creating risks of instability in the soils. Many countries observe this evolution.
The largest coal reserves seem like a relic there and in Colombia, unless technology advances to generate energy with total waste capture, an expectation that is created with the “ultra critical” procedure, under development.
Wind and solar energy have gone from 1% to more than 7.2% of the energy basket in a few years. In Colombia, President Duque will leave approximately 14% of the total supply in these renewable sources, a great example.
There are 4 universities in the United States that in some measurements stand out among the top 10 in the world.
However, the debate on university accessibility and quality in primary and secondary education is very intense. Chile’s constitutional future raises questions about the degree of state preponderance. In Colombia the very high role of the state has created private unions, guided by ideology rather than science.
The United States spends 15% of the product on health, Colombia 7%, there the per capita expenditure is 10,000 dollars, here it hardly exceeds 500. Here there are great advances in solidarity in the legal text. In the United States, the discussion continues on the role of the State, both in financing and in the provision of services.
Today the anguish is the pandemic and its relationship with the economy. An example in patents and research:
The challenges of the United States are many and the advantages as well. For example, they retain their leadership in patent applications in export markets.
The bipartisan coalition is necessary:
President Biden has been an outstanding member of the bipartisan coalition against Colombia. It must be strengthened. May there be all the respect from here to there, of which President Duque sets an example. And that in the United States they also listen to those who think differently from the pact with the FARC.
Álvaro Uribe Vélez November 8, 2020