Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Afro-Colombian politician tapped as ambassador to Washington

A veteran Afro-Colombian politician who studied in the Soviet Union and fled his homeland after being kidnapped by a paramilitary group has been tapped to become Colombia’s first Black ambassador to the United States. In a brief message posted on Twitter on Tuesday, leftist President elect Gustavo Petro wrote that Luis Gilberto Murillo would take Colombia’s most important diplomatic post when he’s sworn into office next month. (https://www.wsls.com/news/world/2022/07/12/afro-colombian-politician-tapped-as-ambassador-to-washington/) Murillo, 55, has a long record maneuvering in Washington’s power circles, having established himself there more than two decades ago when fleeing death threats from right wing paramilitary groups. Among his powerful supporters is Rep. Gregory Meeks, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who helped craft aid programs for the traditionally marginalized Afro-Colombian population as part of negotiations over a U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement. Murillo also has U.S. citizenship — something he’ll have to renounce to take up his diplomatic post.

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