By Joe Biden

Special to the Sun Sentinel

Oct 07, 2020 3:27 PM

Joe Biden speaks as part of the 2018 Concordia Americas Summit at the Agora Bogota Convention Center on July 17, 2018 in Bogota, Colombia. (Ivan Valencia / Getty Images)

I’ll never forget seeing on the news the brazen attack on Colombia’s Palace of Justice in 1985 by M-19 guerrillas. The injustice of gunning down judges with impunity. The cowardice of those criminals who feared extradition to face trial in the United States. That was when I formed my enduring conviction that security and prosperity throughout the entire hemisphere hinged on a close and effective partnership between the United States and Colombia.

Both as a United States Senator and as Vice President, I have gotten to know the people of Colombia. I’ve traveled repeatedly to the country, worked closely with every Colombian leader in the past 20 years, and prayed for victims of violence at Bogota’s Catedral Primada de la Inmaculada. And I have seen the boundless courage of the Colombian people to reclaim their country from the ravages of terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption to become a regional leader and an invaluable partner to the United States.

Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, speaks in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020.
Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, speaks in Gettysburg, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (Hilary Swift/The New York Times)

That courage and resilience is why I championed Plan Colombia from the very beginning and secured bipartisan support for its passage through Congress. Both Colombia and the United States made a real investment in taking on narco-trafficking, and also in strengthening the country’s judicial institutions, cleaning up corruption and promoting economic opportunities for Colombians. U.S. support also became an important tool for the defense of human rights. And during the Obama-Biden administration, we were able to evolve the plan to focus on helping the Colombian government provide services and create alternatives to coca cultivation in the poorest regions of the country. All told, it is one of the most successful — and bipartisan — foreign policy undertakings of the last half century.

I have said many times that Colombia is the keystone of U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean, and if I have the honor of being elected President, I will make rebuilding our relationship with Colombia a key foreign policy priority of the Biden-Harris administration. Not just because it’s good for the Colombian people and Colombian Americans, but because it’s in the vital national security interests of the United States of America.

I also recognize the immense contributions that Colombian Americans make to our own country every single day. The approximately one million Colombian Americans in the United States are a core part of our American story and a source of incredible strength — driving entrepreneurship, spurring innovation, educating our children, serving as front-line health care providers and so much more. And just like all Americans, Colombian Americans are worried about their future and their families during these difficult times.

Our nation is experiencing four simultaneous crises — a pandemic that has claimed the lives of 210,000 Americans and is disproportionately impacting Hispanic communities, an economic recession that is disproportionately hurting middle and working class families, a long overdue reckoning on racial justice and a climate crisis that is already costing coastal communities billions of dollars.

But out of these crises, we have an enormous opportunity to rebuild our communities and make bold investments to build back better. That’s what I will do as President. We’re going to reward hard work in this country, not just wealth. Under my plan, no one who earns less than $400,000 a year is going to pay a penny more in taxes. Instead, we’re finally going to make sure the super wealthy and the big corporations pay their fair share. And we’ll use that money to invest in creating millions of good paying jobs for American workers. In fact, Moody’s, an independent economics analysis firm, projects that my plan will create 18.6 million jobs — 7 million more jobs than President Trump’s economic plan — and generate $1 trillion more in economic growth.

On day one of my presidency, I’ll implement the comprehensive plans I’ve laid out to get this pandemic under control so that we can save lives and get back to normal. And I’ll fight for hard-working families all across the country. We’re going to get $50 billion in capital flowing to small businesses, especially minority-owned small businesses. We’re going to make health care more affordable and slash the price of prescription drugs. We’ll make four years of education at public colleges and universities free for families making less than $125,000 a year, and give first-time home buyers a boost with a tax credit of up to $15,000. We’ll make child care more affordable, and we’re going to pay people a decent wage and treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve — especially our front-line workers who are putting it all on the line for us during this pandemic.

In my administration, we will make sure that Colombian Americans’ voices are being heard in the decisions that will shape the future of our country and the next administration.

With less than a month left in the most consequential election in modern U.S. history, the stakes could not be higher — for the Colombian American community, for the future of U.S. democracy and our economic prosperity, for America’s global leadership, and for the U.S.-Colombia relationship.

Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

Source: Sun Sentinel