President-elect of Colombia, Ivan Duque, has held a phone conversation with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, during which the pair reportedly discussed ways to ramp up the drug war and committed to applying pressure on Venezuela.
“Spoke with President-Elect Ivan Duque of Colombia today, stressing the need to move decisively to cut drug production and trafficking. We discussed the humanitarian crisis and authoritarian conditions in Venezuela and committed to continue to press for the restoration of democracy,” Pence tweeted late Friday.
Duque tweeted that the call was “friendly” and also focused primarily on “security” and the strengthening of commercial ties between the United States and Colombia.
“This is the beginning of a relationship that I hope can continue to grow, and increase cooperation with the United States,” Duque said in a video posted to social media.
Duque was elected on the ticket of the far-right Centro Democratico party founded by former president Alvaro Uribe, who’s under investigation for ties to paramilitaries and whose terms in office triggered the heightened militarization of Colombia and a spike in the killings of social leaders.
Duque has long been an outspoken critic of the peace process between the Colombian government under current President Juan Manuel Santos and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Colombia also recently became an affiliate member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).