This demand is the latest, as social, political and diplomatic pressure on Duque is accumulating, to engage in talks with the organizers of the biggest anti-government protests in four decades.
The students, labor unions, indigenous organizations and dozens of other organizations were already demanding the implementation of the 2016 agreement with guerrilla group, FARC.
ELN negotiators are exactly where Duque left them
The peace movement added that the Duque administration “should explore possibilities to resume talks with the ELN,” talks that the president suspended when taking office in August last year.
The possibilities are there; the ELN negotiators have been waiting patiently in Cuba for the talks to resume while the president has been blowing his political capital.
The urgency is also there; ELN guerrillas have expanded territorial control and the national army has been unable to do anything about it.
Duque’s fictitious “national dialogue”
On Friday, Duque presided over a “Peace with Legality” forum without the participation of Defendamos la Paz, the country’s most influential peace movement, or the FARC.
“My only interest is to listen,” the president told the 127 people invited by the government as he embarked on yet another monologue.
The president’s refusal to hold meaningful talks is what brought about the accumulation of support for the anti-government protests that began on Thursday last week.
Duque’s stubbornness led to the peace movement’s decision to support the organizations behind the national strike.
Colombia’s peace movement says Duque’s ‘national conversation’ is ‘neither inclusive, democratic nor efficient’
How low will Duque go?
It is unclear how long Duque will be able to maintain the position that has destroyed his public approval, devastated his political party in local elections and brought about the biggest anti-government protests since 1977.
With former President Alvaro Uribe, Duque’s political patron, having one foot in prison and with investigations continuing into his government’s gross violation of human rights to repress the protests, the president’s situation can only get worse over time.
There is no indication that Congress, the courts or the people will allow Duque to drag Colombia back into armed conflict.