The former Vice-President of Colombia and current Colombian Ambassador Francisco Santos visited Houston, Texas to attend CERAWeek conference. My friend, political consultant & strategist Jaime Rodriguez used some of his Washington DC contacts to arrange the interview.
I wanted to discuss Venezuela. Interestingly, the day previous I covered Venezuela in the second segment of Politics Done Right titled "Is Trump using Venezuela for political gain?" where I posited that Donald Trump and his cohort are using Venezuela for two distinct purposes. The first is to deflect attention from all the anti-democratic anti-middle-class, and anti-poor policies he is effecting in the country. And second to ensure that his wealthy energy benefactors get the spoils from a new government that would be a puppet of the United States. I covered this in my blog post titled "Preparing for war in Venezuela? I’ve seen this play before."
I found the Ambassador to be an amiable man. It is clear he also is a staunch American ally to a fault. We had a few things in common. Both of us graduated from The University of Texas though he did his undergrad at the University of Kansas and considered himself first Jayhawk and then a Longhorn. We joked about Panama once being a province of Colombia until President Roosevelt used his gunboat diplomacy after Colombia rejected the U.S. building a canal to do so anyway by "aiding" Panama's independence.
I did not know what to expect from Ambassador Santos. After all, I knew that both my country of origin Panama as well as Colombia sanctioned ousting the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. I wondered if the ambassador knew that as an activist journalist I did not support the U.S. policy against Venezuela. In other words, I am biased on the subject.
Politics Done Right Interviews Colombian Ambassador (excerpts)
The Ambassador seems to be a kind and sincere person. It is clear he is on board with the neoliberal viewpoint of the world like most in both American political establishments. Santos is attempting to push the narrative that the Grupo de Lima, a set of Latin American countries trying to oust Nicolas Maduro is independent of the United States. That is suspect given that he confirmed that Donald Trump's new envoy to the region, Elliot Abrams visited both the with the Ambassador and the organization.
The Ambassador is attempting to give legitimacy to the overthrow of Venezuela's "democratically" elected president, Nicolas Maduro. In the extended version of the interview, we discussed the opposition's failure to participate in the election. We also discussed the reality that the U.S. was complicit in ensuring that the election wasn't monitored to maintain the plausible narrative of a fraudulent election.
Altogether it was a good interview. What becomes very evident is Latin American politics will not be changing anytime soon specifically because those still in power still see the world through the eyes of their neoliberal education. That change will only come when America changes.