"I am more worried than ever about Colombia," says Rep. María Elvira Salazar after Petro meeting
Tense meeting in Washington between Colombian President Gustavo Petro and Florida Republican Representative María Elvira Salazar
April 21, 2023 7:48am
Updated: April 21, 2023 9:14am
U.S. Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar held a tense meeting on Wednesday with Colombian President Gustavo Petro, who is in Washington D.C. on tour that concluded today with President Biden.
Salazar, a Republican representative from Florida's 27th district and known for being a harsh critic of the leftist president's policies, said on her social media that she was "more concerned than ever about Colombia" as she left her meeting with Petro.
Petro no responde, divaga, como hacían Fidel y Chávez; como hacen Maduro y Ortega, se va por la tangente para que el reloj camine y lo salve la campana. ¡Desconcertante! pic.twitter.com/3Ya2lWQHIb— María Elvira Salazar 🇺🇸 (@MaElviraSalazar) April 20, 2023
"Petro does not respond, he rambles, as Fidel and Chávez did; as Maduro and Ortega do, he goes off on a tangent so that the clock runs and the bell saves him. Disconcerting!" explained the representative on her social networks.
At the end of the meeting, Petro indicated that he is used to this type of encounter with people who disagree with his policies, and compared Salazar's thinking with that of Colombian congresswomen such as María Fernanda Cabal and Paloma Valencia.
Salazar, for her part, harshly criticized President Petro, saying that he "does not answer questions" and that his seems to be only "an admirer of Fidel Castro."
"Colombia has specific problems, one of the big problems in Colombia is that we don't know what is going to happen with democracy, with institutions, with the economy and what is going to happen with the 'Total Peace' policy that he wants to negotiate with drug traffickers and with the guerrillas," he said.
Salazar in recent days questioned the "Total Peace" project of the Colombian president, which seeks to negotiate with all criminal organizations in the country and grant them legal benefits and alternative sentences.
He expressed concern that the project included drug trafficking groups, such as the Clan del Golfo, the country's largest criminal organization, which currently handles 60% of the country's total drug exports.
Along the same lines, the Attorney General's Office and the Colombian Attorney General's Office have warned about the bill and its possible consequences, since it would leave high-level drug traffickers with fortunes close to 3 million dollars and would open the door for them to escape from jail.