Iván Duque Márquez
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Iván Duque Márquez
|33rd President of Colombia|
|Assumed office |
7 August 2018
|Vice President||Marta Lucía Ramírez|
|Preceded by||Juan Manuel Santos Calderón|
|Senator of Colombia|
20 July 2014 – 10 April 2018
|Born||1 August 1976|
|Political party||Democratic Center|
|Alma mater||Sergio Arboleda University|
Iván Duque Márquez (Spanish pronunciation: [iˈβan ˈdu.ke ˈmaɾkes]; born 1 August 1976) is a Colombian politician and lawyer who is the current president of Colombia. He was elected as Colombia's youngest president, as the candidate from the Democratic Centre Party in the 2018 presidential election. Backed by his mentor, former president and powerful senator Alvaro Uribe and buoyed by a populist wave, he was elected despite having been relatively unknown a year before the election.  He ran on a centre-right platform which included opposing the Havana Accords.
His decision to provide temporary protected legal status to nearly 1.7 million Venezuelan migrants drew praise from leaders around the world. Poverty and economic inequality increased in his first full year in office, a trend which worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic. Duque's failure to continue unconditional peace negotiations with ELN (after the 17 January terrorist attack) was also criticised by opposition parties and sections of the public. The police response to the resulting 2020 Bogota Protests and the ongoing 2021 Colombian Protests left 13 dead and around 400 injured, and approximately between 60 dead and 2,100 injured, respectively.
Life and career
Duque was born in Bogota, in a wealthy political family originally from the Colombian town of Gómez Plata, Antioquia, son of Juliana Márquez Tono (political scientist) (1950–) and Iván Duque Escobar (1937–2016), a powerful local political leader who was Governor of Antioquia, auditor in the United Nations, Minister of Mines and Energy, and head of the National Registry of Civil Status in the Government of Andrés Pastrana. Duque's siblings are Andrés and María Paula.
Duque attended Colegio Rochester and graduated from Sergio Arboleda University in Bogotá in 2000 with a degree in law. He holds a LLM in International economic law from American University and a Masters in Public Policy Management from Georgetown University, Washington D.C.. Duque also attended an Executive education course at Harvard University for 5 days, where he studied business and government.
He began his professional career in 1999 as a consultant in the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and later served as an advisor at the Colombian Ministry of Finance and Public Credit during the government of Andrés Pastrana (1998–2002).
Subsequently, he was appointed by Juan Manuel Santos, future president and then Minister of Finance, as one of Colombia's representatives at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a post he held between 2001 and 2013. There he served as chief of the Division of Culture, Solidarity, and Creativity.
Duque also served as international advisor of former President Álvaro Uribe Vélez. Between 2010 and 2011, he was a consultant at the United Nations (UN) in the Panel of Inquiry appointed by the Secretary-General for the Incident of the Gaza Flotilla that occurred on 31 May 2010, between Israel and Turkey, known as Mavi Marmara.
Duque returned to Colombia to become a candidate for the Senate in the legislative elections of 2014, for the Partido Centro Democrático (Democratic Center Party) which split away from the ruling governing party after Juan Manuel Santos opened peace negotiations with the FARC. This new party campaigned against the new peace agreement and the Santos Government, and was led by right wing former president Uribe.
Uribe created his own political party and presented himself and a list of hand picked political allies as candidates for the office of Congressman in a closed list, which meant that people could not vote for an individual congressman but had to vote for the party as a whole in both the upper and lower chamber elections. Duque was included in the number seven spot of the closed off list for the Senate and thus was elected senator.
During his time as a senator, he was the author of four laws:
- Law 1822 of 4 January 2017, increasing the maternity leave from 14 to 18 weeks, so mothers could spend more time with their newborn children, a benefit that was also extended to adoptive mothers.
- Law 1831 of 2 May 2017, for the availability of defibrillators in public facilities and places of high public influx, to save lives, since heart attacks are the leading cause of death in Colombia.
- Law 1809 of 29 September 2016, for the use of advanced severance payments for educational insurance, so that more families can send their children to the university.
- Law 1834 of 23 May 2017, the "Orange Law" for the promotion, development and protection of the creative and cultural industries.
President of Colombia
On 10 December 2017, Duque was nominated by his party as its candidate for President of Colombia. He won the nomination through a system of surveys conducted by the party, with a 29.47% favorability compared to the other two candidates: Carlos Holmes Trujillo who obtained 20.15%, and Rafael Nieto with 20.06%. In January 2018, it was announced that the center-right coalition would participate in the Grand Primary for Colombia – an interparty consultation – with Duque as its candidate confronting Marta Lucía Ramírez (civil-center right movement) and Alejandro Ordóñez (right wing civil movement). On 11 March 2018, Duque won the primary with more than 4 million votes. Ramírez was second, with just over 1.5 million votes, and Ordóñez came third with 385,000 votes. During his speech, Duque thanked the support of Colombians at the polls and announced Marta Lucía Ramírez as his running mate in the elections.
On 27 May 2018, Duque earned the most votes in the first round of the presidential election with over 39% of the vote. Duque was elected President of Colombia on 17 June 2018 after allegedly defeating Gustavo Petro 54% to 42% in the second round, although there have been many public complaints stating that the votes were manipulated to favor Duque. He was sworn in on 7 August 2018 at the Bogota's Bolivar Square.
Venezuelan refugee crisis
The Presidency of Ivan Duque has continued the policies of his predecessor Juan Manuel Santos in regards to immigration, and the Venezuelan refugee crisis. Ivan Duque's government has been a vocal supporter for the Venezuelan Refugees at the United Nations and has provided aid, schooling and health care for many, and has been a vocal critic of other South American countries closing of doors to Venezuelan Refugees. In 2018, Duque dedicated 0.5% of government spending to supporting refugees accounting for about 20% of Colombia's budget short fall, despite opposition. In response to this criticism on a televised address Duque stated: "For those who want to make from xenophobia a political path, we adopt the path of brotherhood, for those who want to outcast or discriminate against migrants, we stand up today ... to say that we are going to take them in and we are going to support them during difficult times." Duque's policies regarding this issue have received repeated praise from international humanitarian organizations for its efforts to legalize, formalize and offer assistance to refugees, and the Atlantic has noted that it has set the bar welcoming refugees. A representative from the International Rescue Committee has noted that: "[she's] never seen a government trying this hard to register people and leave the borders open, unfortunately," she added "the scale of this crisis, and the speed at which it changes, is more than Colombia can handle."
During the 2020 United States elections, Duque's party Democratic Centre promoted Republican Party candidates in the United States, especially in Florida, sharing support for President of the United States Donald Trump. The involvement of a Colombian party promoting political candidates in a foreign election drew controversy among some observers. After Duque's party supported President Trump in the 2020 United States presidential election, relations between the government of President Joe Biden and Colombia became strained.
The 2019–2020 Colombian protests were a collection of protests that have occurred since 21 November 2019. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians demonstrated to support the Colombian peace process and against the Duque government.
Following the publication of alleged evidence in March 2008 that Duque's political party conspired with the drug trafficking organization of Marquitos Figueroa to commit fraud in the presidential election, Congress's Accusations Committee and the National Electoral Council opened an investigation into his alleged role in the fraud. The Supreme Court opened a criminal investigation into his political sponsor, right-wing former President Alvaro Uribe, who is already being investigated for alleged witness fraud and bribery.
Iván Duque is the author of the books Monetary Sins (2007), Machiavelli in Colombia (2010), Orange Effect (2015), IndignAcción (IndignAction) (2017) and is co-author of the book The Orange Economy: An Infinite Opportunity (2013).
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Juan Manuel Santos
| President of Colombia