Colombia- Argentine Diplomatic Relations Falter After Milei Calls Petro a “Terrorist”

United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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Speaking with CNN, Argentina President Milei called Colombian President Petro a “terrorist killer” in an interview with journalist Andrés Oppenheimer to be broadcasted this Sunday, March 31st on that network. He said:

“You can’t expect much from someone who was a terrorist killer…”

As a response, Colombia recalled its Ambassador and expelled the Argentine ambassador and other diplomats. This is the second time in 2024 that Colombia has recalled its ambassador from Argentina following previous comments made be Milei in January in which he called Petro a “communist murderer” and a “sinking Colombian”. However, this is the first time that the Petro government has expelled the Argentine ambassador. The announcements from the Colombia Foreign Ministry read below:

The official announcement from the Colombian Foreign Ministry’s government portal also reads below:

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the government of Colombia, repudiates statements made by Mr. Javier Milei, President of Argentina, in an interview with the CNN channel in which he expresses himself in a denigrating way against the first President of the Colombians, the respected Mr. Gustavo Petro.

It is not the first time that Mr. Milei has offended the Colombian President, affecting the historic brotherhood relations between Colombia and Argentina.

The expressions of the Argentine president have deteriorated the confidence of our nation, in addition to offending the dignity of President Petro, who was democratically elected.

In this context, the Government of Colombia orders the expulsion of diplomats from the Argentine embassy in Colombia. The scope of this decision will be communicated to the Argentine Embassy through diplomatic institutional channels.”

Petro At A Glance

These diplomatic spats are another chapter in the ongoing ideological differences between President Milei which has devolved into personal animus.

While not exactly diplomatic, President Milei is correct in alleging that Petro was a member of the 19th of April Movement (M-19), a Colombian guerrilla group that emerged in 1974 in opposition to the National Front coalition after allegations of fraud in the 1970 election. The group was responsible for armed rebellion and terrorist acts against the government of Colombia, although it is not clear if President Petro had directly killed anyone.

Following his inauguration in 2022, several high ranking military generals denounced his election and resigned, much due to his former militancy and leftist ideology. Petro moved to immediately restore relations with Venezuela. President Petro enjoys a 66% disapproval rating and a 28% approval rating after the arrest of his son Nicolas in a money laundering scandal involving campaign finance and sagging attempts at land and legislative reform.

Argentina-Colombian Relations

As of 2014, there were 87,574 Colombians living in Argentina, most of whom migrated during the 2010s, presenting a significant cultural and economic confluence between the two nations. This diplomatic spat is likely to continue due to the ideological differences. However, the historically strong relations between Colombians and Argentines will likely not be significantly impacted, especially due to Petro’s unpopularity.