Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, traveling to Washington Monday to
receive his Medal of Freedom from outgoing U.S. president George W.
Bush, has no appointments scheduled with any of future president Barack
Obama’s staff, Uribe’s spokesman said Sunday.
According to presidential spokesman César Mauricio Velásquez, Uribe will meet current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, but will not meet any of the people of the incoming Obama administration. On Tuesday he will receive the highest U.S. civilian award from Bush.
Uribe and Bush have always been staunch allies in the fight against Colombian drug trafficking and leftist rebels. Obama however has always been very critical about Uribe’s human rights record and refuses to sign a free trade pact between the two countries unless Uribe improves the situation of unionists in Colombia.
Obama, faced with one of the United States’ most serious economic crises ever, is also likely to cut in Plan Colombia, a multi-billion dollar strategy to fight the cultivation of coca in Colombia. He already announced a different approach to the policy, but hasn’t yet disclosed what kind of approach.