Further strengthening the already solid ties between Italy and Latin America was the main objective of foreign minister Federica Mogherini’s visit to Chile and Colombia, which concluded with her attendance at the inauguration of new Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos. It is in this spirit that the annual Italy-Latin America Conference will be held in Milan in the margins of the EXPO. The minister is also planning to complete a tour in October of three other Latin American nations. One being Argentina, which she was unable to visit on this trip as a result of a scheduled report to Copasir on the crises in Libya, Mexico and Cuba.
During her visit, the minister held meetings with high-level institutional representatives of the two countries and with the Italian communities.
She was received in Santiago by President Michelle Bachelet and Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz, with whom she exchanged views on the political, social and economic situation in Chile and in Italy at a time when both governments are engaged in enacting extensive reforms.
The minister also visited the Museum of Memory dedicated to the years under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. She also met with executive secretary of CEPAL Alicia Barcena. At the headquarters of that UN institution, Mogherini held a conference entitled “Italy and Europe after the latest elections: toward a new partnership with Latin America”
The visit to Santiago concluded with a ceremony in which the minister conferred the rank of Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on Chilean Minister for Culture Claudia Barattini.
In Bogotà – on the first visit there by an Italian foreign minister since 1993 – Mogherini met with President Santos, and her Chilean counterpart Angela Holguin, and was the president’s guest at the reception for those who had attended his inauguration.
Her presence in Bogotà made it possible for the minister to hold a long series of bilateral encounters with many Latin American representatives. These included President of the Chilean Parliament Isabelle Allende, and the foreign ministers of Mexico José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Costa Rica Manuel Gonzalez Sanz, Argentina Hector Timerman, as well as President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela and President of Peru Ollanta Humala.
The minister then met with President of the Inter-American Development Bank Luis Alberto Moreno and President of the Latin American Development Bank Enrique Garcia, and was received by Secretary General of the Organisation of Latin American States Josè Miguel Insulza.