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Colombia: Iván Duque bags job at Washington think tank

By Kawsachun News

Former right-wing President of Colombia, Ivan Duque, has landed a job at the Washington-based Wilson Center as a “Distinguished Fellow” and Global Advisor” for issues including defense of democracy and climate change, despite his atrocious record on human rights and environmental destruction.

The Wilson Center is funded in large part by the U.S. Congress and has hosted numerous panels and events promoting destabilization and coups against Venezuela.

Trump’s former USAID administrator Mark Green, who is now Director of the Wilson Center said, “We are proud to welcome you to the Wilson Center and have the benefit of your ideas and experience.” Green was involved in the U.S. attempted invasion of Venezuela from Colombia in 2019 and other plots to take out the Bolivarian government led by President Nicolas Maduro.

Whilst Duque’s supposed democratic credentials are lauded in Washington, Colombia is the most dangerous places in the Americas to be an indigenous or union leader, a situation that has worsened under Duque’s leadership. As of May 2022, the murder of community leaders averaged out at one every two days.  

During the anti-neoliberal protests in 2021, state forces killed, maimed, and disappeared countless protesters, drawing condemnation from human rights groups. 

On the issue of the environment, Duque introduced fracking for the first time in Colombia and presided over mass deforestation across the country. Many of the indigenous leaders killed during his regime were land defenders and environmental activists. In 2020, the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) stated, “Under the government of President Iván Duque Márquez, as of March 9, 2020, the ONIC registers 162 indigenous people killed, 555 collective threats, 14,266 people affected by confinement, and 6,985 by massive forced displacement, among other violations of the human rights of indigenous peoples.”