A chat with an arrogant Trump could end badly if there is no seeing eye to eye.*
Luckily, President Iván Duque Márquez is similar in stature to President Donald Trump and shouldn’t feel intimidated if the gringo chooses to raise his voice. Some tricky questions will be running through Duque’s mind as he anticipates his visit to Trump: Should he ask Trump about his wife and grandchildren? What tie should he wear for the appointment? Will he need a scarf in the deep freeze of Washington? No, President Duque. The scarf that we saw you wear in Davos 12 days ago, that rose checked Burberry number, doesn’t suit you at all. It’s too flashy, don’t use it. Ambassador Pacho Santos will gladly accept it if you give it to him, as it is ideal for the gringo winter.**
This is not just any old appointment for President Duque, this is with the super tough Trump, who swept up votes from under the feet of the gringo elite, the progressive antifascists, Hillary, “the big mama” of the Clinton clan, the Kennedys and the Cabot Lodges. This is the Trump of gringo journalism, which insults him every day because he gives them good reason to.
Trump is not waiting for Duque in the Oval Office to given him a medal, nothing of the sort. What Trump and the CIA want is to stop the planting of coca in Colombia, but this is impossible. It is as if they are asking him to fill the meager Cauca River to the top with water within two days. Full stop.
It should concern Duque slightly to know that he is going to chat about international policy, peace agreements with FARC, and cocaine cultivation with the unpredictable Trump, who, according to The New York Times and a thousand gringo psychiatrists, is still very much unbalanced, suffering from dementia and raging outbursts. “If that man gets angry … wow,” my wife Lulita Arango worriedly exclaimed.
A chat with an arrogant Trump, if they disagree, could end very badly. He might say to our Ivan, “I don’t like your stubbornness, president Duque, and I demand that you leave this office immediately. You are not tackling the issue of drugs in Colombia in the way that my government had hoped. Please leave, and don’t waste any more of my time.” But this isn’t science fiction, this really could happen. Trump flips quite often. Full stop.
There are three events that everyone should follow closely: the construction of the Ituango Dam, the meeting of Trump and Duque in Washington, and the magic of the Champions league, because the dazzling skills of Ronaldo, Messi, Falcao and Duván Zapata make this crazy world just a little bit more bearable.
*Editor’s note: The author of this commentary makes repeated use of the word “gringo” which is a derogatory term for a foreigner, especially an American, in parts of Latin America. It is included in this translation because the editors consider it a direct quote by the writer essential to his opinion.
**Editor’s note: Pacho Santos is the Colombian ambassador to the United States.