Colombia expels a group of Argentine diplomats after Miley called Petro a “terrorist killer”

The Government of Colombia announced this Wednesday the expulsion from the country of a group of diplomats from the Argentine Embassy in Bogotá. He did so after that country’s President, Javier Meili, called his counterpart Gustavo Petro a “terrorist killer” in an interview with journalist Andres Oppenheimer for CNN, which will be broadcast on Sunday. In an episode broadcast by the news network, Miley suggested that Colombia, under Petro’s mandate, could follow in the footsteps of Venezuela or Cuba: “The genocide that has happened in Venezuela is really unheard of, similar to the prison island of Cuba. Then there are other cases that are on the way… right? Let’s say, like the Colombia case with Mr. Petro, let’s say… well, you can’t expect too much from someone who is a terrorist. Was the killer, wasn’t he? Communist”.

Late this Wednesday afternoon, Camilo Romero, Colombia’s ambassador to Buenos Aires, assured that a response was being prepared: “The Colombian government is exploring all measures. Decisions will be announced soon,” he said. The result was confirmed a few minutes later, through a brief official statement from the Colombian Foreign Ministry, explaining what happened and reminding that there is a history of other insulting criticisms from Miley to Petro. For the time being, Argentine diplomacy No statement or response has been issued.

The document announcing the decision said: “The expressions of the Argentine President have undermined the confidence of our country, in addition to offending the dignity of the democratically elected President Petro.” And then he adds: “The Government of Colombia orders the expulsion of diplomats from the Argentine Embassy in Colombia. The Argentine Embassy will be informed through diplomatic institutional channels about the scope of this decision,” the statement concludes, without clarifying which or how many diplomats will be subject to this measure. The current Argentine ambassador is Gustavo Alejandro Dzugala, who arrived in Bogotá in 2021 and presented the credentials of the previous government to right-wing Iván Duque (2018–2022). He was appointed by the Kirchnerist administration of Alberto Fernández, who is on the opposite political side of his successor.

Miley’s disqualification of Petro was linked to the statement she issued against Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the same interview: “For an ignorant person like López Obrador to speak ill of me glorifies me.” At the meeting, Argentina also reaffirmed its status as an ally of the government of Israel and its incursion into the Gaza Strip, another position that differentiates them from both Petro and López Obrador. “Whatever he is doing is within the rules of the game, Israel is not committing a single excess,” he said.

Miley’s insult to Petro has drawn reactions from various political figures in the country, with almost all of them disapproving of it. Congress President Iván Nam, a critic of the Petro government in the legislature, issued a brief statement in which he said the president “represents the unity of the nation of the Colombian State.” And he said: “I reject the disrespect on the part of the President of the Argentine nation towards our President, who represents the Colombian people. Once again I wish for the brotherhood of our nations.

Senator and former chief negotiator for the government for peace talks with the FARC, Humberto de la Calle, acknowledged differences between the presidents as “inevitable”, but said he did not accept the level to which Argentina The president of Brazil has reached out: “The insults to the flow are unacceptable. And, as a Colombian, I cannot accept Miley’s infamous behavior towards Petro.” Senator Iván Cepeda, one of the great allies of the Colombian President, assured that Argentina’s statements “seriously” hurt the nation. And he added: “The decision of our government is not against the Argentine people, whom we love and admire, it is against those who rule them today in an authoritarian spirit.”

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For his part, Chamber representative Andrés Calle of the Liberal Party also acknowledged the need for “political debate” to find “constructive solutions” that would improve the situation in the region. However, he supported the Petrograd government’s decision to expel the diplomats: “There is no doubt that the response at this time is to support the decision of the national government in the face of President Xavier Miley’s statements and to protect the institutions of our On the other ideological side of the country, Andres Forero, representative of the opposition Democratic Center, believes that Petro’s decision is due to “double race” and compared the government’s immediate response to Miley’s insult to an almost non-existent response. The political situation in Venezuela.

The Colombian response of expelling the diplomats is not surprising, as this is not the first tension the two countries have gone through since Argentina took power, and the Petro government has already imposed less severe diplomatic measures. On January 26, he called Ambassador Romero for consultation after Miley assured him, in an interview with Colombian journalist Patricia Zeniot, that Petro was “a murderous communist who is sinking Colombia”. On that occasion, as it happened this Wednesday, the Colombian Foreign Ministry said that the Argentine President’s expression “ignores and violates the deep ties of friendship, understanding and cooperation that historically unite the two countries”.

Less than a month later, on February 24, once again in front of the press, Miley told the cameras of the Colombian channel NTN24 that Petro “is drowning the Colombian people, that is, he himself is a deadly plague for the Colombian people “ On that occasion, Argentina attended a United States right-wing conference in Maryland, where he met that country’s former president, Donald Trump. Colombian diplomacy then rejected those expressions and described them as “irresponsible”.

However, the rift between the two presidents predates Miley’s arrival at the Casa Rosada. When he was still a candidate, Argentina said in an interview with the Colombian radio RCN in a provocative tone: “What is a socialist deeply? “It’s garbage, it’s human feces.” Petro wrote in his X profile. replied that this was said by the German dictator Adolf Hitler. The ultraliberal economist, in turn, replied: “They are part of the decadence.”

The most recent history of expulsions of diplomats from Colombia dates back to 2020, when the government of Ivan Duke decided to withdraw Alexander Peristov and Alexander Nikolayevich Belousov, members of the Russian diplomatic mission in the country. According to the then-Colombian Foreign Minister, Claudia Blum, the decision was made “after verification that they were carrying out activities in the country that were incompatible with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” Both were suspected of being linked to a Colombian spy network.

The Colombian government has also threatened to break relations with Israel over the attack on Gaza. Just two days before the decision to expel Argentina’s diplomats, President Petro proposed multiple cease-fires if the Jewish State continued attacks. Following the UN Security Council’s decision to order a ceasefire in that conflict, he used social networks to solidify his call. He announced on the social network X at the time, “If Israel breaks this ceasefire I invite the countries of the world to break diplomatic relations with that country.”

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