Colombia’s VP-elect Francia Márquez meets Lula in São Paulo

Colombia VP-elect Francia Márquez Lula
Lula and Colombian VP-elect Francia Márquez. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert/PR

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the frontrunner for October’s election, received a visit on Wednesday from Colombia’s Vice President-elect Francia Márquez, who will take office alongside Gustavo Petro on August 7. 

Though the meeting in São Paulo was unofficial, Ms. Márquez’s two-day visit consolidates both sides’ intentions to strengthen political relations — especially in the event Lula is victorious later on this year. 

Ms. Márquez will not meet with President Jair Bolsonaro, who was critical of the left’s victory in Colombia. Brazil’s head of state is also unlikely to attend Mr. Petro’s inauguration next month, after snubbing Chile’s new President Gabriel Boric in March. 

Lula and Ms. Márquez discussed the future of regional relations in Latin America, one of the cornerstones of the former president’s campaign. Both sides agree that the economic and social challenges posed by Covid and conflict in Europe mean that the region’s states must combine forces. 

Also on the table was the potential resumption of Unasur, a left-leaning multilateral body created in 2008 during Latin America’s so-called “pink tide.” As conservative governments began to pick up victories around the region in the 2010s, the group became obsolete, overtaken by the pro-market Prosur in 2019. 

The pair also discussed regional trade agreements, environmental protections, human rights, gender, racial causes, and technology. Francia Márquez, elected on a feminist and green-friendly platform, also met with other female representatives linked to Lula’s Worker’s Party.