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Tue, 12 Nov 2019 23:01 GMT

Duque Speaks to Security Issues During Inauguration Speech

Politics

7Dnews London

Wed, 08 Aug 2018 14:20 GMT

Ivan Duque, 42, the youngest Colombian chief of state ever elected in a popular vote, addressed Colombians after his inauguration on Tuesday promising a crackdown on violence against social activists.

Duque is taking Colombia's presidency at a critical juncture: coca production is soaring to record levels, holdout illegal armed groups are battling for territory where the state has little or no presence and a spate of killings of social activists has underlined that peace remains a relative term.

Duque has described himself as a centrist who will unite the nation at a time when many are still fiercely divided over the peace agreement that ended more than five decades of bloody conflict.

Throughout his campaign, Duque promised to push changes in the peace agreement, including creating tougher penalties for former leaders of the now defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia responsible for crimes against humanity. Under the accord, most rebels who fully confess their crimes will be spared any jail time, a sore point for many Colombians.

Colombia's conflict between leftist rebels, the state and paramilitary groups left at least 260,000 dead, some 60,000 missing and millions displaced.

Latin America