Colombia recalls ambassador to Argentina after Milei calls Petro ‘communist assassin’

The Foreign Minister accused Milei of disregarding the ‘deep ties of friendship’ between both countries

Colombia's President Gustavo Petro. REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura

Colombia has recalled its ambassador in Buenos Aires for consultation after Argentine President Javier Milei called Gustavo Petro “a murderous communist.” In a post on X, Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva said that the statements were “disrespectful and irresponsible,” accusing Milei of “disregarding the deep ties of friendship” between both countries. 

Milei made the remarks in an interview with journalist Patricia Janiot that aired on her YouTube channel on Thursday. When asked what he thought of Petro, Milei said he was “a murderous communist who is ruining Colombia.” Just before that, Milei had praised former U.S. President Donald Trump, calling him “one of the leaders of freedom against global socialism.”

Leyva explained that due to the “circumstances sparked by the words of the President of Argentina”, the Colombian government had “immediately recalled” its ambassador in Buenos Aires, Camilo Romero, for consultation.

Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Argentine Foreign Ministry limited themselves to saying that “ideological differences should not interfere with the relationship between our people.” That is the road the ministry strives for, the spokesperson added.

In 1978, Petro joined the M-19 guerrilla movement, which decided to halt operations and hand in its weapons in 1990. Petro had already moved on from his involvement with the group to become a councilman. He was later elected senator and mayor of Bogotá. He became president of Colombia in August 2022.

Ambassador Romero also made a statement on X. “Milei is a hypocrite. While today he asks our government for approval for his new ambassador to Colombia, he calls President Petro an assassin,” he said.

This is not the first time Milei and Petro have clashed. In December, the Colombian president questioned a provision included in the omnibus bill Milei sent to Congress that called for imposing fees in public universities for foreign students who were not country residents.

“We will receive 20,000 Colombian students who were educated for free in Argentina,” Petro said back then in a post on X. “They are literally expelled from that country — they did not get the so-called ‘freedom’.”


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