Maas in Latin America: allies for human rights and multilateralism 

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas travels to Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas travels to Brazil, Colombia and Mexico., © Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

29.04.2019 - Article

This trip to Brazil, Colombia and Mexico marks the prelude to a new initiative that will place a greater emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean in German foreign policy.

Latin America and the Caribbean are becoming more important for Germany as partners in shaping the global order of the future. It is with this in mind that Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is seeking to lay the groundwork for a new foreign policy priority with his trip to the region. On 28 May, he will also host a high level conference in Berlin, which is to be attended by numerous foreign ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean. He issued the following statement prior to his trip to Brazil, Colombia and Mexico:

Latin America is one of the world’s most strongly democratic regions. We share an important foundation of common values with many of its countries. This is why we are seizing the initiative to reinvigorate and inject fresh impetus into our relations. The aim is to strengthen our partnerships and to make our cooperation more effective. We want to join forces on the world stage in our efforts to promote democracy, human rights and fair rules. We want to help expand our foundation of shared values.

New allies for a fair world order

Throughout the world, values such as democracy, freedom and diversity are coming under pressure. Cooperation, free trade and respect for international law can no longer be taken for granted. Foreign Minister Maas drew the following conclusions from this:

We need more allies to stop the advance of populists and authoritarians. Latin America has dropped off our radar for too long. When it comes to promoting an equitable world order, we cannot afford to lose any allies. We need voices to advocate for human rights and multilateralism in the bodies of the United Nations. In the world of tomorrow, strong alliances with Latin America will be far more valuable than most of us can imagine today. We are not the only ones to have recognised this.

Three capitals in three days: Heiko Maas’s trip at a glance

In Brazil, Foreign Minister Maas will launch a new network for strengthening women’s rights and also hold talks with Foreign Minister Araújo and President Bolsonaro.

In Colombia, the focus will be on joint efforts to promote peace and stability. Foreign Minister Maas will meet representatives of the Venezuelan opposition and visit a camp for reintegrating former FARC fighters. Bilateral talks with Foreign Minister Trujillo and President Duque are also on his schedule.

In Mexico, Foreign Minister Maas will hold bilateral talks with his counterpart Casaubón to discuss how the countries’ good cooperation in business, culture, academia, politics, development and the environment can be further intensified.


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