Newspaper Article - Harvard Crimson

Former Colombian President Iván Duque Discusses Resurgent Left Wing in Latin America at Kennedy School Event

Nov. 18, 2022

Former Colombian President Iván Duque discussed Latin America’s resurgent left wing and advocated for environmental action at the Harvard Kennedy School on Thursday afternoon.

The event, moderated by Paula J. Dobriansky, a former U.S. ambassador and a Belfer Center senior fellow, drew more than 100 Harvard affiliates to the Kennedy School’s Starr Auditorium where Duque spoke and took audience questions for more than 90 minutes.

Duque, who served as Colombia’s president from 2018 to 2022, left office earlier this summer after leftist presidential candidate and longtime rival Gustavo Petro won election on a platform of combating economic inequality. Latin America’s six largest economies will all be run by left-wing leaders once Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva takes office on Jan. 1, cementing the region’s left-wing shift.

Duque, however, said he does not believe the current political arguments in the region are based on political ideology.

“For me, it is not a debate between right and left,” he said. “I think the debates that I see are between right and wrong, which is about the policies and how do you embrace the public policies and how the policies contribute to the benefits of society.”

“This is not the first time that we see a red Latin America,” Duque added.

Duque, who was elected to the presidency on a right-wing platform, said he is most worried about “demagogy decisions” that generate instability and uncertainty.

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