Daily Review: Colombia’s Scandal, China in Central Asia, More

Daily Review: Colombia’s Scandal, China in Central Asia, More
Colombian President Gustavo Petro speaks during an event in Pasto, Colombia, April 13, 2023 (Sipa photo by Camilo Erasso via AP Images).

Today at WPR, we’re covering a series of wild new scandals rocking Colombia’s president and China’s charm offensive in Central Asia.

To get the Daily Review in your inbox five days a week, create your WPR account now. Already have an account? Adjust your email settings.

First, though, here’s our take on today’s top stories:

U.S.-U.K. relations: As noted, Sunak is in Washington for a two-day visit, where he’s meeting with President Biden and congressional leaders to discuss strengthening economic ties between the two countries, AI regulation and, of course, the war in Ukraine. (Reuters)

Our Take: Sunak has managed to stabilize the Tory government after the upheaval that led to him taking office last year, even as the domestic challenges facing the Conservative Party remain. So far, Sunak’s major accomplishments have been in the foreign policy realm, including finalizing a deal with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol, smoothing frayed relations with European partners, and continuing to play a leading role in support of Ukraine.

Now, Sunak is looking to leverage his high-profile trip to Washington to burnish his own leadership credentials and back up the U.K.’s aspirations to be a global power after Brexit.


Canadian wildfires: Canada is struggling to fight an outbreak of wildfires, which have forced millions of Canadians and Americans to remain indoors as smoke travels across both countries. “Climate research suggests that heat and drought associated with global warming are major reasons for the increase in bigger and stronger fires in Canada,” the New York Times writes.

More context from WPR: 


You can read the rest of today’s News Wire, a curated selection of one must-read article from every region, here

Colombian President Gustavo Petro was already struggling. His ambitious domestic agenda had stalled, and his approval ratings had plummeted. Then, a wild new series of scandals involving the closest of his allies emerged. 

Columnist Frida Ghitis breaks down the drama and what it could mean for Petro’s presidency:

Colombia's politics have been rocked by a corruption scandal involving allies of President Gustavo Petro

Another Scandal Puts Colombia’s Petro in Even Hotter Water

It’s no secret that Colombian President Gustavo Petro has been struggling. His ambitious domestic agenda has stalled, and his approval ratings have plummeted. But no one could have anticipated the wild new series of scandals that emerged in the past week to threaten his presidency in such spectacular fashion. Read more.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted an in-person summit with the presidents of five Central Asian countries. It’s the latest demonstration of China’s growing geo-economic role in the region, writes Emil Avdaliani.

The countries of Central Asia have become increasingly important economically to China.

China’s Charm Offensive Highlights Central Asia’s Rising Profile

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted an in-person summit with the presidents of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The gathering was the latest demonstration of China’s growing geo-economic role in Central Asia. Read more.

We want to hear your take on the issues we cover.

This week’s question: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will reportedly visit China later this month, amid a flurry of high-level contact between the two sides in recent weeks. Should the U.S. be seeking to unconditionally engage with China, or should it seek concessions from Beijing ahead of any dialogue?

WPR reader Jason Solivais says:

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will do well to seek concessions before meeting with China. The United States can benefit from and should encourage China’s constructive engagement but must be fully prepared and firm if Chinese actions challenge Asian peace and prosperity or the American role in Asia.

Got your own thoughts on this week’s question? Just reply to this email to give us your take, along with your name and where you’re based. We’ll include the best ones we receive in the Daily Review over the course of the week. Those selected will also receive a free month of WPR.

A former executive at ByteDance, which owns TikTok, has alleged that the Chinese Communist Party accessed user data belonging to protestors and civil rights activists in Hong Kong from the app, the Guardian reports

TikTok has become a major focal point of U.S.-China tensions, with the app’s American critics arguing that it poses a security risk since the CCP may be able to access sensitive user data:

US-China tensions have bled into a debate over TikTok, data collection, and social media apps

TikTok Could Get Caught in the Crossfire of U.S.-China Tensions

March 29, 2023 | Last week’s congressional hearing on the alleged security risk posed by TikTok put into stark contrast the gap between the app’s fans and critics. Read more.


Chile’s new Constitutional Council, which is made up of a conservative supermajority, began drafting a new constitution Wednesday. It’s the country’s second recent attempt to do so after voters last year defeated a notably progressive draft.

Last month, Frida Ghitis broke down how the drafting process, initially launched by the left, has become controlled by Chile’s right:

Chileans will have the chance to vote on a new constitution and referendum, following the election of Boric who promised to tackle crime and improve politics.

Boric Faces Another Setback on the Road to Chile’s New Constitution

May 11, 2023 | Chileans have once again dealt President Gabriel Boric a major setback, handing an overwhelming victory to the right-wing opposition in a vote for a new Constitutional Council. Read more.

That’s all for today’s Daily Review. Be on the lookout for stories on Ukraine’s NATO membership prospects and the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s Oromia region.

Have a great day,

Jakob Cansler

More from WPR

Jakob Cansler is WPR’s assistant editor and the author of the Cansler Culture newsletter.