Colombian President Ivan Duque marks first year in office

Latin America

Colombia’s president has just marked his first year in office. But many Colombians don’t consider that something to celebrate.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue explains.

On Aug. 7, Colombia celebrated the anniversary of its crucial battle for independence from Spain.

It was also the anniversary of President Duque’s first year in office. Reviews have been mixed. The president’s approval ratings are low and his legislative projects have either been rejected by lawmakers or delayed.

Colombia is facing several challenges—a huge migration of Venezuelans due to the country’s economic and political crisis, ongoing security issues, narco-trafficking, and a sluggish economic recovery.

President Duque was sworn in August 2018 as one of the youngest in the country’s modern history. And one analyst said his inexperience is showing.

Administration officials have pointed to accomplishments such as a slight drop in coca production last year, and fewer social activists have been murdered.

But public perception is that things are not going well. In a recent Gallop Poll commissioned by Colombia’s local media, nearly 57 percent of the people polled disapproved of Duque’s job performance.

Contrary to the polls and his critics, Duque told Colombia’s biggest-circulation newspaper that his first year in office was “positive.”

To many, the opposite appears true. With rising unemployment and a falling currency, the economy is just one of Duque’s big problems. Having pledged to unite the country after a 50-year armed conflict, Colombia’s social divisions still run deep.