Blinken to begin Latin American tour on Monday in Colombia


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken begins a tour of Latin American countries on Monday in Colombia, at a time when several key regional allies have recently elected leftist presidents. The trip by the top US diplomat, whose country has been more focused in recent times on Asia and on the war in Ukraine, appears aimed partly at addressing any concerns of US neglect for its hemispheric allies.

His trip begins a day after a hard-fought first-round election in Brazil, where voters faced a stark contrast between far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and leftist challenger and former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. It will go to a runoff on October 30 after Bolsonaro did surprisingly well against the heavily favored Lula.

Despite speculation that Bolsonaro might not accept an electoral defeat, Blinken said Sunday that the United States shares “Brazil’s confidence that the second round will be conducted in the same spirit of peace and civic duty.”

Blinken’s tour also comes on the heels of a prisoner exchange between the US and Venezuela, reflecting cautious warming between the two despite the fact that Washington has never recognized the disputed 2018 re-election of Nicolas Maduro as president.



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