Duque wrote to the UN requesting an extension of the mandate of the UN Special Political Mission in Colombia, with particular focus on the FARC’s reintegration into civilian life and politics, and security guarantees and aims to combat criminal elements trying to undermine the peace process.
The presidential decision represents a virtual 180-degree turn on behalf of Duque, who has opposed the peace process during the campaign ahead of the presidential elections in May and June.
Within a month after taking office the president seems to have distanced himself from his own political party, the hard-right Democratic Center of President Alvaro Uribe, who has categorically rejected the peace process.
Furthermore, it appears that Duque or his advisers have secretly met with the FARC to coordinate and formulate the request made to the UN with the intention to continue with the peace process that began in 2016.
The president and the FARC’s leader Rodrigo Londoño met face to face for the first time earlier this week to discuss anti-corruption proposals made by the opposition, supported by Duque but opposed by Uribe.
Earlier this month, members of Duque’s party and the FARC party engaged in heated remarks in Congress when a debate on Colombia’s drugs issue descended into personal attacks on the FARC senators.
The CD, however, appears to have split in two. One far-right faction seems willing to stick with Uribe while he and his allies go to court on charges related to their alleged ties to paramilitary death squads, and moderate conservatives like Duque who are not implicated in any war crimes.
One thing is certain; the peace process, which has been battered by violence and corruption, is still alive, and will continue to be monitored by the international community.