Since the presidential campaign, the connections of the government projects headed by Gabriel Boric in Chile and Gustavo Petro in Colombia became perceptible. After Petro’s inauguration in Bogota, these convergences are beginning to bear fruit in the relaunching of bilateral ties between these two South American countries, whose presidents have led the first diplomatic act of the new Colombian government.
At a press conference, the presidents listed points of agreement on the horizon of a new Latin American democratic left. They highlighted the importance of tax reform that would support equality through a tax collection that would increase public spending in favor of the expansion of social rights. They also agreed on the need to promote concrete policies in favor of Afro-descendant and indigenous communities, in their right to self-government and in their recognition as legal subjects.
Petro and Boric emphasized a common will to advance in the reformulation of an energy policy from the paradigm of clean sources. The leaders insisted that an energy transition is inseparable from any serious attempt to revitalize agriculture or industry, and that it is not unrelated to their own efforts to provide a community dimension to the strategy of recognition and dignity of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.
The presidents added, to their anti-racist and environmentalist objectives, the commitment to gender parity and the defense of women’s rights. Boric recalled that this is one of the most recognizable innovations of the new Chilean constitution. He mentioned that he is in tune with the proposals, in the same sense, of Colombian VP Francia Marquez. In his inauguration speech, Petro gave form to his message of peace, reconciliation, and pardon, through the voice of an indigenous girl.
These shared ideological coordinates differentiate them from the more authoritarian and patriarchal leaderships of the Latin American and Caribbean left. It is no surprise that they express interest in recovering a regional integration agenda, which recent geopolitics has disfigured. Petro cited ECLAC and its proposals for regionalization, and called for the restoration of the Andean Pact, which he said Chile should rejoin, an initiative that will have to be compared with the Mexican Foreign Ministry’s project to reactivate the Pacific Alliance.
Both presidents referred to the importance of resuming and deepening the peace agreements with the FARC and ELN guerrilla groups, with the deliberate purpose of Chile becoming the venue for the talks with the Colombian government, in this new stage. Both also agreed that the old strategies of criminalization and hostility against drug-trafficking are exhausted and urged for the search for new approaches.
*First published in La Razón of México.