The president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, travels this Tuesday (16) to Bogotá for a bilateral meeting with the head of the Colombian Executive, Gustavo Petro. On Wednesday, the two will discuss trade agreements, sustainable development, cooperation in relation to the Amazon and regional issues.

One of the main themes of the meeting should be the electoral situation in Venezuela. Both Lula and Petro questioned the impossibility of the nominee of the vetoed opposition Maria Corina, professor Corina Yoris, to contest the elections.

At the end of March, the Brazilian president even said that the issue was “serious” and that it was seen with “surprise by the Brazilian government”. At the time, the Colombian stated that Corina Yoris’s inability to register was an “anti-democratic coup”.

But days later, the situation calmed down, Petro met with the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas and said that the country could help in the Venezuelan election.

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Book Fair

Other regional issues should also be on the meeting’s agenda. The escalation of violence in Ecuador is also a cause for concern for Colombians. This Monday, Petro suspended the bilateral cabinet between Colombia and Ecuador in response to the invasion of the Mexican embassy last week. The cabinet was formed in 2021 by presidents Guillermo Lasso (Ecuador) and Álvaro Uribe (Colombia) to address strategic issues.

Ecuadorian police used force to invade the Mexican embassy in Quito and arrest former Ecuadorian vice president Jorge Glas, who had been taking refuge there since December.

After the meeting, Lula and Gustavo Petro will make a joint statement before participating in a lunch.

In addition to the bilateral meeting, Lula will also participate in a business forum organized by ApexBrasil and the trade promotion agency ProColombia. According to Itamaraty, the event will bring together around 300 Brazilian and Colombian businesspeople.

Brazil and Colombia have one of the busiest trade relations in the region. Last year, the two countries traded US$6.1 billion (more than R$30 billion) in trade. In 2022, this value had been even higher: US$7.6 billion. But value alone does not explain the importance of this relationship.

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, of the 5 most exported products from Brazil to Colombia, 3 have high added value: cars, tractors and parts and accessories for vehicles. For Colombians, exports were mainly mineral products such as coal and coke.

Lula will also participate in the inauguration of the Bogotá International Book Fair, which will have the theme “Read Nature”. According to Itamaraty, Brazilian artists will be at the event such as Ailton Krenak, Daiara Tukano, Eliane Potiguara, Bernardo Carvalho and Hermeto Pascoal.

Meetings in 2023

The two presidents have already met on three occasions last year. In January, Petro attended Lula’s inauguration in Brasília. In May, Lula called a meeting in Brasília to discuss regional integration with other South American heads of state. On that occasion, the two had a bilateral meeting.

On July 8, the two participated in a meeting in the city of Leticia, in southern Colombia, to discuss regional cooperation to preserve the Amazon. The meeting preceded the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) summit that took place in Belém, Pará.

Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


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