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Iván Duque, the president who faced crime in times of pandemic

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Iván Duque, the president who faced crime in times of pandemic

There is no harder job than running a country, but it´s even harder when you have everything against you. Iván Duque arrived at the Casa de Nariño with the intention of recovering the course that had been traced in the government of Andrés Pastrana with the Plan Colombia and later the Democratic Security of Álvaro Uribe Vélez.

Since Duque took office, he knew that his four-year term would be difficult, he would govern with a Congress against, one that had been bought by Juan Manuel Santos, the same one who ignored the ruling of the Constitutional Court that declared two sections of the Legislative Act known as Fast Track.

The lawsuit that led the Court to study the document that allowed the implementation of the Havana agreements without any modification was filed on August 30, 2017 by the current president of Colombia, Iván Duque. The then senator expressed when he filed the lawsuit that one of the arguments that led him to seek the high court was that this reform limited the ability of Congress by subjecting it to make modifications only if the Government allowed it, a clear violation of the law, violation of separation of powers and a complete annulment of the representation of citizen power.

The Constitutional Court agreed with Duque, but since the ruling was not retroactive, all norms that had already been approved by Congress and that were fundamental for FARC were saved. That included the amnesty law that would allow them to have a seat in Congress, the law that protected the Agreement, the law that created the opposition statute, the one the allowed then to have their own political party and last buy not least, the one that created the JEP (Special Jurisdiction for Peace).

The government of Juan Manuel Santos stole the plebiscite. On October 2, 2016, the majority of Colombians voted No to the implementation of the peace accords with FARC. Santos didn´t acknowledge the results and today Colombia has ten “honorable congressmen” members of the guerrilla group.

Former FARC commanders have debts with justice and the Colombian people for drug trafficking, terrorism, homicide, kidnapping, child recruitment, land dispossession, rape, forced abortions and pedophilia. The members of the FARC Secretariat would not have enough life even if they reincarnated thrice to pay for their crimes. Juan Manuel Santos commuted the 56 sentences handed down against them by judges for a seat in Congress. Those rulings add up to 1,629 years in prison for the guerrillas, that represents over 16 centuries behind bars.

Thanks Agreement that was forged by Santos, Colombia is now flooded with coca crops and the laws that the last government approved provide facilities for drug trafficking. In 2017, crops reached an all-time high.

If we now analyzing for a moment what has happened in Colombia since last April 28, 2021, we can conclude there is black hand that controls the supposed national strike. When the Indigenous Minga took over Cali and blocked the roads, they did so with the intention of diverting the attention of the authorities, which allowed 72 thousand kilos of coca to be taken through the “peace roads” established in the Santos government.

The world today is invaded by Colombian cocaine while politicians such as the former senator of the Polo Democrático and former Minister of Justice, Parmenio Cuéllar and former Mayor of Pasto Harold Guerrero. Together with their magistrates of the “pastuso toga cartel” are dedicated to overthrowing laws and hindering the work of those who want to work for the good of Colombia. Cuéllar, Guerrero and his lackeys overthrow any attempt made by President Duque to give the State a chance to win the fight against drug trafficking.

With the Fuel Supply Plan implemented in the department of Nariño, the Norte del Valle Cartel, the FARC and the ELN, coca producers that are stablished in that region of the country, have benefited immensely. It turns out that the new generations of the Mexican cartel also have been favored. Nariño has the second cheapest gasoline in the country.

Cuellar and Guerrero are honorary presidents of Adiconar, the association of fuel distributors in Nariño. Parmenio Cuéllar is the author of the article regarding the border law from which the department benefits so much with the subsidy given by the governmet of 411 pesos for each gallon of fuel transported from Valle del Cauca.

Both Cuéllar and Guerrero are owners of gas stations in the department of Nariño which makes them direct beneficiaries of the border law and the Supply Plan. Luis Gámez, transporter businessman completes this corruption triangle.

The facilities that Nariño politicians provide to drug traffickers have turned the department into a true paradise for illegality. The municipality of Barbacoas has a population of 32 thousand inhabitants and has 39 fuel stations, an unjustifiable number given the population and number of vehicles. These particularities reveal the criminal structure that operates in the area.

Drug trafficking is the largest fuel consumer in the region as it takes 75 gallons of gasoline to produce a kilo of cocaine. The most outrageous thing about this is that the government ends up subsidizing the fuel for all the bandits who have their “kitchens” in Nariño thanks to the aid provided by Cuéllar, Guerrero and Gámez with the Supply Plan.

The government of Juan Manuel Santos has a special interest in issuing laws and decrees that ended up handing the country over to the bandits of FARC and other illegal groups. Santos tied the hands of the public force, made the equal to criminals and prevented them from fighting drug trafficking the correct way, a true blow to those who swore to protect our lives and our country.

Iván Duque has had to govern with a military leadership that is divided thanks to General Mejía, a man appointed by Juan Manuel Santos at the end of 2017 as commander of the Army. Duque is surrounded by a crooked military leadership that cares only about the fixed contracts left over from the past government.

The National Police is defeated, the rigged decrees promoted by the FARC and left-wing politicians prevent the public forces from defending themselves from any attack. This has had repercussions on the security that they can provide to all Colombians. There is little and nothing they can do with their hands tied to their backs.

Iván Duque is a truly decent president that belongs to a new class of politicians, a “generation motivated by service and not by the vain exercise of power, a generation committed to the future and without anchors in prejudices of the past.” Since the start of the pandemic, he has received harsh criticism from both right and left movements.

Iván Duque has been asked to violate the laws and to resort to international courts to roll back the Havana accords. He has been attacked and branded a bad ruler and his opponents try to ignore the fact that the president has had to face one of the toughest world crises in history. No one was prepared to face a pandemic, not even the most experienced crisis analyst could have predicted the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 and the global consequences it would have.

Duque has also had to face the rigging left by the Santos government which arranged the courts at his whim to favor illegality, especially that which was endorsed in the peace accords.

2020 was a historic year in the fight against drug trafficking, the Orion campaign struck hard and prevented the consumption of more than 711 million doses of cocaine, a record year for seizures, destruction of laboratories and eradication of illicit crops.

“More than 4 thousand laboratories have been destroyed so far this year and more than 113 thousand hectares eradicated and we are going to accelerate our work to reach the goal of 130 thousand. The phenomenon of replanting cannot be ignored, but this is the year (2020) of the greatest eradication ever deployed by the entire public force” stated the president in that moment.

The Duque government has dealt heavy blows to the leaders of the different illegal organizations. Alias ‘Uriel’, leader of the ELN, third in command of the Frente de Guerra Occidental was killed in combat. Aliases ‘El Mudo’ and ‘Walter’ who belonged to the Golf Clan were also discharged. The FARC dissidents have also received heavy blows with the casualties of alias ‘Guacho’, the most wanted man in Colombia and Ecuador at the time. In 2021, ‘Jesús Santrich’, FARC leader and ‘Flechas’, top leader of the criminal gang Los Caparros were also killed.

Iván Duque is a president who has worked on the economic opening of Colombia and has attacked illegality; this are sufficient reasons to be surrounded by other politicians, instead of being attacked. In Colombia there is always talk of empathy and union, but there is no sector more divided than the political one.

Decent Colombians support President Duque. Those people who are honest and upright, those who do not commit illicit and criminal actions, those who live in the environment of legality. In Colombia the term decent need clarification because there is also the political coalition, misnamed List of Decency known simply as Decent, which certainly doesn’t represent that word at all.

The president is criticized for having in his close circle members of the uribismo that are from the business, non-political and technical sectors. What many do not know is that Duque is surrounded by people who truly appreciate him, people who believe in his political project but above all, disinterested people who are not behind a contract. Those are the best companies.

Difficulties come in a day-to-day basis for president Duque who has received criticism even from his own political party. With still a quarter of his government ahead, Duque fights against those who want to see him fail because they find that crisis is the best scenario to get votes for the next legislative and presidential elections that will be held in 2022.

The different political parties punish Duque because he has advisors with values, people with education and businessmen. The president governs with a technical cabinet and not a politician one; that infuriates all those who are used to giving away bureaucratic positions in the different ministries.

Former President Alvaro Uribe has every right to criticize the mistakes made by this government. Duque as head of State is responsible for those mistakes but they are not caused by him. Uribe’s comments are a reflection of his reactive personality, these criticisms are not made with severe analysis.

For a little over a month, the opposition led by incendiary politicians have generated excesses and violence that have escalated and have caused many to brand the president as not having a strong hand.

Duque now has the support of politicians from different parties, including those that once criticized him. And how can we not surround him if he represents that Colombia that is “brave, hard-working, that does not subside at the first noise. No matter how great the adversities may be, our desire to progress and succeed will always be greater”.

Colombian youth is wrong in looking for a reference in left wing politicians for they lack values, rectitude and legality. President Duque is that reference that Colombia so badly needs right now.

To finish I would like to clarifying that I am neither an Uribista nor a Duquista. I recognize that I resemble an Uribista because I respect private property, hard work and because without a doubt, I respect everything that Álvaro Uribe did during his eight years of government and later from Senate. I am a man who lives in legality, I am a man of unbreakable values and who believes in the infinite capacities of Colombians, that is why today I defend Iván Duque.

By: Carlos Escobar

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