Colombia

Is Trump’s secret meeting with Colombian ex-presidents meant to undercut peace deal?

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, left, at signing of a peace deal last year (Associated Press)
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, left, at signing of a peace deal last year

President Trump has met secretly with two former Colombian presidents before holding any face-to-face talks with one of their political enemies: the sitting president, Juan Manuel Santos.

The unusual meeting with former presidents Alvaro Uribe and Andres Pastrana has led to speculation in Colombia that the pair was enlisting Trump’s support against a historic peace accord brokered by Santos with left-wing guerrillas.

Trump received Uribe and Pastrana on Good Friday at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago. The meeting was widely reported in the Colombian news media but never announced by the White House.

When White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about it at a briefing this week, he responded that he was unfamiliar with the event.

Trump has spoken to Santos twice on the telephone, but they have not met in person. Negotiations were under way for a possible White House encounter next month, Colombian officials said.

In Bogota, the Colombian capital, the Santos government was said to be livid at news of the Mar-a-Lago session. Uribe and Pastrana are vehemently opposed to the hard-fought peace accord that ended more than half a century of civil war.

Santos’ stewardship of…

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