Santos to tour Latin America

Colombian President-Elect Juan Manuel Santos will begin a Latin American tour next week, which will take him to Mexico, Panama, Chile, Argentina and Peru, incoming Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin announced Tuesday.

Santos, who will assume from outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on August 7, will begin the tour on July 22 in Mexico and end on July 27 in Peru, Holguin told reporters.

The future foreign minister said that meetings have been confirmed with the presidents of all five countries.

This will be Santos’ second tour since his June 20 win against Green Party presidential candidate Antanus Mockus. In June and early July the president-elect visited the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.

Holguin confirmed that the tour will not include stops in either Ecuador or Venezuela. The foreign minister said she would travel alone to the two countries on unspecified dates and stated the wish of the incoming government to re-establish relations with both countries.

Relations with Venezuela deteriorated in 2009, after Bogota signed a pact with the U.S. allowing their troops access to seven military bases around the country. Venezuela viewed the agreement as a threat to sovereignty in the region, but has recently signaled a desire to repair relations with incoming administration.

Ecuador and Colombia have been moving towards repairing diplomatic relations, after the rupture which followed a 2008 bombing raid by Colombia of a FARC camp on Ecuadorean territory.

An Ecuadorean court issued a warrant for Santos’ arrest for his involvement as defense ministre in the raid. Commenting on the arrest warrant, Correa stated that Santos would be arrested if he ever visited Ecuador.

Santos expressed hope that both Correa and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would attend his inauguration. Despite protestations on Tuesday from Quito that Correa had yet to receive his invitation, Holguin confirmed that all the invitations had been sent and that some delay was to be expected.

Related posts

Runner up in Colombia’s presidential election sentenced to 5 years over corruption

Colombia’s teachers strike over pending education reform

Chiquita liable for financing death squads in Colombia: US court