Colombia’s newly elected President Ivan Duque is travelling to the United States to meet with Republican Senator Marco Rubio in his first foreign visit since winning the elections on June 17.
Senator Rubio has close political ties with the Colombian right wing, and has been one of the main voices in the U.S. establishment calling for pressure on Venezuela.
Duque, who is part of former President Alvaro Uribe’s Centro Democratico party, says building closer relations with the U.S. administration will be foremost on his agenda. On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump called Duque to congratulate him and discuss “security challenges” in Colombia.
“Today I received a call by the president of the United States in which he congratulated us for the results achieved in the last elections and also expressed his commitment to support our security, justice agenda, our agenda of the frontal fight against drug trafficking and our agenda of entrepreneurship and equity,” Duque told reporters.
“It was a friendly conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump. I thank him and we will continue working to widen our relationship with the United States,” Duque tweeted.
The right-wing Colombian politician also recently spoke with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence about applying greater political pressure on neighbor Venezuela.
Duque has close personal ties to the United States, where he worked and lived for 10 years as a consultant for the Development Bank of Latin America and the International Development Bank.
The president-elect won the June 17 elections against leftist Gustavo Petro, and is expected to take over from outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos on August 7 to serve a four-year term.