At Americas summit, Biden urges Colombians not to give up on peace

At Americas summit, Biden urges Colombians not to give up on peace 

Former US vice-president Joe Biden speaks during the 2018 Concordia Americas Summit in Bogota, Colombia, Jul. 17, 2018. EPA-EFE/Mauricio Duenas Castaneda

Bogota, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- The previous vice-president of the United States said Tuesday during the 2018 Concordia Americas Summit in Bogota that Colombia should continue with the peace process so the country can progress.

Joe Biden, vice-president with Barack Obama’s administration, addressed peace and the future of Colombia in his keynote address on the second and last day of the summit, in which Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and President-elect Ivan Duque also participated.

Biden urged Duque, who is set to assume the presidency on Aug. 7, not to give up on the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and praised the country’s determination to achieve progress.

He stressed that the entire American continent will benefit if Colombia prospers economically as the South American nation is considered a cornerstone for the welfare of America.

Duque said Colombia made a big mistake in 2014 when peace became a topic of the presidential campaign, because during that time those who opposed the negotiations with the FARC were labeled as “enemies of peace.”

“That was a mistake because in Colombia we are all friends of peace. The only ones who rejected peace are those who were in the violence for many years, those who tried to convince us of their point of view with violence, assassinations, kidnappings and terrorist attacks,” said Duque.

Biden also addressed the problem arising from a mass exodus of Venezuelans to Colombia, an issue that he said Colombia should not handle alone.

He said that the international response is too small to alleviate the crisis in Venezuela, adding that it is not just a problem of Colombia, so Colombia should not have to carry the burden alone.

More than a million Venezuelans have immigrated to Colombia in the last 15 months, 819,000 of which are planning to settle in the country, according to official sources.

Biden added that the international community must impose sanctions on certain sectors that allowed the abuses in Venezuela to happen and support international humanitarian organizations that are working to mitigate the crisis in Venezuela.