Colombian President Ivan Duque and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Colombia’s president juggles Venezuela, Trump and a shaky coalition

  • Colombia’s economy forges ahead and foreign investment is flowing in despite major security and social challenges, and the government’s political frailty
  • Most Colombian voters believe the former guerrillas were treated too generously in the recent peace accord
  • President Ivan Duque is trying to preserve peace, address the most burning social issues, neutralize domestic rivals and please Washington at the same time

At this juncture, nearly a year into his term as Colombia’s president, it is hard to imagine that Ivan Duque is not asking himself why he wanted the job. It is not so much that the country’s problems are intractable – although they are – as that he must navigate internal political struggles that make it almost impossible for him to tackle them. Mr. Duque does have two things going for him: the political opposition is hopelessly fragmented and the economy keeps growing with no signs of impending collapse. Meanwhile, he must govern.

President Duque’s first challenge is to manage the ambitions of his patron, former President Alvaro Uribe Velez (2002-2010), who is working assiduously to strengthen his own party, the Democratic Center, in the regional and municipal elections scheduled for October. The greater Mr. Uribe’s success, the more it will undermine Mr. Duque’s efforts to keep together the coalition he built for his presidential campaign. Without this broad base of support, the president cannot pass any legislation through the Congress of Colombia, where Mr. Uribe’s party controls only one-fifth of the seats. At the same time, public opinion surveys make it clear that Mr. Uribe’s popularity is fading; to the extent that President Duque appears to do his patron’s bidding, his own popularity suffers.

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Dr. Joseph S. Tulchin
Any transition to a more democratic government in Venezuela would have significant benefits for Colombia
read more about it in the report
What's inside
  • Colombia’s economy forges ahead and foreign investment is flowing in despite major security and social challenges, and the government’s political frailty
  • Most Colombian voters believe the former guerrillas were treated too generously in the recent peace accord
  • President Ivan Duque is trying to preserve peace, address the most burning social issues, neutralize domestic rivals and please Washington at the same time
Who will benefit?
  • Report is targeted to the decision makers in cross country manufacturing – suppliers, manufacturers, logistics.
  • Also considered useful for the administrative university facilities, to better understand the possibe effects of current decisions.
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