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Colombia expels Argentine ambassador following Javier Milei’s comments calling Gustavo Petro a terrorist murderer

  • March 28, 2024
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Colombia has hit back after Argentina’s outspoken leader called President Gustavo Petro a “terrorist”, “assassin” and “communist”.

The Foreign Ministry has expelled Argentina’s ambassador following “denigrating” comments by President Javier Milei, it announced yesterday.

Mr. Milei made the incendiary remarks about Mr. Petro, a former member of the Marxist guerrilla group M-19, during an interview with the Spanish-language network CNN scheduled to be broadcast in full on Sunday.

In a statement announcing the expulsion, Colombia’s Foreign Ministry said Mr. Milei’s comments had “eroded the confidence of our nation while offending the dignity of President Petro.”

Bogotá had already recalled its ambassador in Buenos Aires, Camilo Romero, in January following a similar verbal attack from Mr. Milei.

Mr. Petro, 63, joined M-19 when he was a student. Considered social democratic in its ideology, the group was founded in response to apparent fraud in the 1970 Colombian elections.

His most famous operation was the theft of the sword of Simon Bolivar – a figure who led a vast revolt against Spanish colonial rule in South America.

Critics condemned Mr Milei’s “undiplomatic” and “counterproductive” verbal outbursts against his political opponents.

He has already attacked the left-wing leaders of Chile and Brazil. In his interview with CNN, he also describes Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as “ignorant.”

In the past, Mr. Milei called a critical economist a “mongol,” Pope Francis was called a “representative of evil” and a journalist was called a “donkey.”

Oscar Vidarte, an international relations expert at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, warned that Mr Milei’s comments could earn him likes on social media but risk leaving Argentina “isolated”.

“He doesn’t think about Argentina’s national interests,” Mr. Vidarte said, recalling how Mr. Milei once promised to cut diplomatic ties with Communist China, Argentina’s second-largest trading partner.

“For China, Milei is not an important player. For Argentina, China is fundamental,” added Mr. Vidarte.