Criticism on Colombia’s President Ivan Duque over a large number of trips abroad and his administration’s failures to implement a peace deal are part of “an international campaign against the president based on slander,” according to the country’s foreign minister.
Duque has come under fire over the 17 trips abroad he made during his first 10 months in office and has been criticized abroad over his administration’s failures to implement a peace deal with the demobilized FARC guerrilla group.
But according to Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Duque is the victim of an “international campaign against” him that is “based on slander,” he said at a press conference on Monday.
In an interview with W Radio, Trujillo added on Tuesday that “they are portraying Duque as if he were against the peace deal while he is complying.”
The foreign minister took to the defense weeks before the UN Security Council is expected to receive a quarterly report from its mission in Colombia about the progress of the peace process that is fiercely opposed by the president’s party, the far-right Democratic Center.
The FARC has made multiple accusations that the government is systematically failing to comply with the peace agreement, especially considering the killing of at least 134 demobilized rebels and hundreds of community leaders and human rights defenders.
Additionally, the government’s failure to push anti-corruption measures through Congress and Duque’s failure to address a national outcry over the killing of yet another community leader on Friday has pushed the government in the defense.
But Duque’s trips abroad — for example visiting UK Prime Minister Theresa May two weeks before she leaves office — “are necessary, positive and the results are encouraging,” said Trujillo.
“To speak of creative industries means talking about entrepreneurship and talking about this, based on legality, is talking about equality,” Trujillo told W Radio.
Notwithstanding, the disapproval rating of Duque and his cabinet had broken records. Never in the history of polling has Colombia’s president received such low approval ratings during his first year in office.