RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – US Senator Chris Coons, very close to President Joe Biden, considered this Thursday, at the end of a visit to Colombia, that the country is not receiving enough support from the international community in its effort to welcome Venezuelan migrants.
The Democratic senator for Delaware acknowledged Colombia’s work in welcoming 1.8 million Venezuelan migrants, a flow he compared to the Syrian flow in Middle Eastern countries.
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“But the international community is not giving the support to Colombia that it has given to other countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, or Syria,” affirmed the American in a meeting with the media in Bogotá.
Speaking in a personal capacity, the US Senate Ethics Committee president explained that “we are in a complicated and frozen conflict with the regime of (Nicolás) Maduro”, but he saw positive the talks that the Venezuelan president wants to hold in Mexico with the opposition.
“There have been several attempts and efforts on Maduro’s part in recent months, but actions matter much more than words, and the humanitarian conditions in Venezuela are just horrible, so we will have to see a clear commitment on his part,” the senator argued.
On immigration policy, Coons also wanted to congratulate Colombia on its willingness to temporarily take in Afghan refugees until they legalize their status in the United States.
“I am deeply grateful to President (Ivan) Duque, the Colombian government, and the Colombian people for being so welcoming to Venezuelan refugees and for committing to take in possibly 4,000 Afghans,” the senator stressed.
During his visit, Coons, who arrived in Bogotá last Saturday night and leaves today for Ecuador, met with Colombian President Iván Duque, Foreign Minister and Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez, and representatives of the government, the UN and other organizations and institutions, and visited the pre-amazon area of San José del Guaviare and the Caribbean city of Cartagena de Indias.
VACCINES AND ENVIRONMENT
In addition to the follow-up to the peace agreement, the US official was interested in defense of the environment and deforestation and cooperation capabilities for the manufacture of vaccines.
In this regard, he assured that he would continue to press in his country for the continuation of vaccines against Covid-19 to Colombia. He spoke of the possibilities of manufacturing vaccines in the country.
He said that the pharmaceutical company Janssen of Johnson & Johnson, one of the major manufacturers of vaccines against covid-19, is interested in reaching an agreement to have a production plant in Colombia. However, the project “is in its initial phase, and it remains to be seen how it will work.”
The United States, which has Colombia as its main Latin American partner, has donated 3.5 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna Pharmaceuticals and another 2.5 million doses of Janssen’s single-dose vaccine.