Colombian President Gustavo Petro called for a Latin America-Spain alliance to produce “concrete policies” in response to the climate crisis during the first day of his state visit to Madrid. In a speech to the Spanish Parliament, Petro praised Spain for assuming the presidency of the European Union in the second quarter of the year, during which a EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) summit will be held in Brussels in July. Petro urged the summit to produce “concrete policies” to defend the environment and highlighted the role that Spain can play in fostering a new relationship between Europe and Latin America.
Petro is known for his advocacy for transitioning to clean energy and for promoting an international alliance to protect the Amazon rainforest, which would mobilize funds from countries and companies. However, his speech in Parliament was overshadowed by a protest from the third-largest political force, the far-right Vox party, which abandoned the room before Petro spoke. Vox also organized a demonstration outside the Parliament to repudiate the Colombian president’s presence in Spain.
Petro’s state visit to Spain coincides with Colombia’s worst political crisis since he took office in August, due to setbacks in the implementation of ambitious reforms promised during his campaign. The Colombian president’s visit is the only state visit that Spain will receive this year, highlighting the country’s strategic partnership with Colombia in Latin America.
During his visit, Petro is scheduled to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to discuss his policy of “total peace,” aimed at ending more than six decades of violence in Colombia, and political dialogue in Venezuela. He will also participate in a business forum and receive a decoration from the University of Salamanca.
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