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  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits the Nahuel Huapi National Park in Patagonia during his Latin America tour, in Bariloche, Argentina.

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits the Nahuel Huapi National Park in Patagonia during his Latin America tour, in Bariloche, Argentina. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 February 2018

Tillerson said that one of the issues they will discuss is finding ways to reduce cocaine production.

Following his visit to Peru, where he met with President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now scheduled to visit Colombia, where he will meet with President Juan Manuel Santos

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Last week, Tillerson said that some of the issues that will be discussed include establishing peace in the South American country, finding ways to reduce cocaine production and strengthening bilateral relations.

Another topic that will be addressed includes the status of the peace accord signed between the former guerrilla group and new political party, the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Commons, FARC.

“As we continue to build a stable and lasting peace, we are grateful for the long-standing bilateral partnership and the bipartisan support of the United States,” said Colombia’s ambassador to Washington, Camilo Reyes, prior to Tillerson's visit.

He went on to state that “Now that it is a nation at peace, Colombia is better positioned to work hand-in-hand with the United States and achieve even more for the people of our two countries and for the region.”

Between 2000 and 2015, the United States gave Colombia US$10 billion to finance Plan Colombia, according to the Bogota Post. The counternarcotics and counterinsurgency military aid package, which was authorized by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, led to the deaths of hundreds of social activists.

In Feb. 2016, Santos met with former President Barack Obama in Washington to announce Plan Colombia 2.0, dubbed “Paz Colombia,” focused on strengthening security and combating drugs with US$450 million over the next 10 years in post-conflict era Colombia.

Tillerson's six-day Latin American tour included visits to Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Colombia, with a final stopover in Jamaica on Feb. 7. One of the main objectives of the tour is to try to garner support for sanctions and other measures against the Venezuelan government.

Countering Tillerson's diplomatic sojourn is a regional tour undertaken by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. Titled the Latin American and Caribbean Union and Dignity Tour, his travels revolve around strengthening bilateral relations and other common areas of interest with regional partners.

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