Colombia’s far-right President-elect Ivan Duque, considered by many to be a frontman for former right-wing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, was sworn-in Tuesday as he faces yet another round of scrutiny over his links to paramilitary groups in the country as Uribe faces yet another investigation into his past links to the right-wing militias.
What Does Ivan Duque’s Presidency Mean for Peace in Colombia?
"I want to govern Colombia with unshakeable values and principles, overcoming left and right divisions … I want to govern Colombia with the spirit of building, never destroying," Duque said after swearing and receiving the presidential band.
Meanwhile, across the country opposition groups and pro-peace organizations marched in the streets of Colombia rejecting Duque’s presidency vowing to protect the peace agreement signed in 2016 between the Colombian government and the former guerrilla insurgency-turned Revolutionary Alternative Force for the Commons (FARC) political party. Duque has said the agreement is much too lenient on former FARC guerilla and is pushing to amend the accord so that ex-FARC serve jail time before being able to run for political election.
His plan will likely face stiff opposition from the Constitutional Court and Congress, where most parties favor implementing the existing accord. The FARC has invited Duque to discuss the agreement.
The new head of state also promised to restore security in the cities and a tough hand against drug traffickers. Opposition demonstrators are suspicious of the president’s true intentions against crime and violence as his new interior minister, Nancy Patricia Gutierrez, has longtime links to paramilitary groups, for which she was acquitted.
Heads-of-state and dignitaries from across Latin American arrived in Bogota for the inauguration of Duque. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Argentine President Mauricio Macri and Bolivian President Evo Morales were each seen descending from their respective airplanes and were welcomed by a Colombian military honor guard.
Chile’s Pinera said, "we want to wish (Colombian) President Ivan Duque what all Colombians want, which is that his government be a government of progress, of justice and of peace."
Duque will also have to make efforts to mitigate any diplomatic issues that stem from the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans flowing across the border into Colombia due to the economic crisis in the neighboring nation.