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Colombia’s Peace Agreement Is Under Siege

Thanks to the historic peace agreement reached by his predecessor, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez now presides over a country that, after more than five decades of violent conflict, is on the path toward lasting peace. But Duque seems determined to derail implementation of the deal.

MADRID – In 2016, Colombia’s government reached an historic peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), ending a 52-year-old war that had killed more than 265,000 Colombians and displaced another seven million. The deal has been hailed as a new model for resolving seemingly intractable conflicts. But it is now being tested like never before.

Eradicating the root causes of such a protracted conflict would be difficult enough in the best of times. With Iván Duque Márquez taking over Colombia’s presidency, however, it will become much more so. Duque’s mentor was former President Álvaro Uribe, the political nemesis of Duque’s immediate predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos, the architect of the peace accord.

Already, Duque has refused to recognize key pillars of the deal, beginning with the FARC’s status as a legitimate political party that can participate in democratic elections. He has also rejected the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), a new extrajudicial court system created as part of the deal to manage transitional justice – the legacy of abuses by FARC guerrillas and the right-wing paramilitary organizations that fought them.

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