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    Sanchez in Latin America

    The trip to Latin America by the President of the Government, Pedro Sanchez, has left this week a new example of the importance that Spain’s foreign action in the region can have. The visit to Colombia, Ecuador and Honduras, despite the specificities in the bilateral agenda with each of these countries, has once again demonstrated that the presence in America and relations with their leaders must be a priority for Spain, which in the In recent times, it has not been able to avoid a certain disconnection between Latin America and the EU, translated into the delay in trade agreements with Mexico and Chile and the endless difficulties with Mercosur. Spain has to maintain that bridge.

    But, in the absence of results on that side, there is some good news on other flanks, especially the disposition shown by the chief executive in Bogota to seek an agreement with the National Liberation Army (ELN) that will lead to the demobilization of the guerrilla organization. Sanchez and the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, sealed the beginning of a stage that includes support for the peace process. The president offered Spain as a possible venue for the talks and his counterpart agreed with that possibility. More complicated would be that Spain could host talks that would also imply that justice suspend arrest warrants. Sanchez and Petro addressed other central issues, such as anti-drug policy, the commitment to combat climate change, the promotion of economic cooperation or the reactivation of the Ibero-American Summits of 2023 and 2024. Sanchez’s trip to Colombia is relevant, furthermore, because of the symbolic weight of the recent triumph of Petro, the country’s first left-wing president and a politician who embodies, especially together with the Chilean Gabriel Boric, the spirit of a new progressive axis in Latin America.

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    The scope of the visit to Ecuador and Honduras —the president of the Central American country, Xiomara Castro, is another outstanding representative of this new wave of progressive leaders— has been ostensibly smaller. But the balance of the tour is, in any case, very positive. There is an additional chapter: Spain must now place the Latin American agenda, essential for its interests, on the European agenda, even more so after the unstoppable advance of China and Russia in the region in recent times. After this tour, Sanchez is on his way to Germany, and later he will receive Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz in a bilateral meeting in Madrid that is essential for Spanish interests. Latin America and Germany are two priorities of Spanish foreign policy, along with a southern neighborhood marked by new balances with Morocco and Algeria. These two trips by Sanchez should begin to outline the contours of the Spanish presidency of the EU, in the second half of 2023, which is seen as crucial for the international image of Spain after a long decade of crisis in crisis in which it has often boxed below his weight in the cabals of global power.

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    Source: EL PAIS


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