First Past the Peace: Colombia's Presidential Election

This Sunday, Colombians go to the polls in the first presidential election since a controversial peace deal ended half a century of conflict with the leftist guerrillas of the FARC.


The candidate topping polls at the moment is the youthful Ivan Duque (pictured above), a security-oriented, business-friendly lawmaker from the right who has criticized the peace deal for being too lenient. Duque is backed by hardline former President Alvaro Uribe, who is still a political kingmaker in the country.

Duque’s nearest challenger is Gustavo Petro, a left wing former mayor of the capital, Bogota, who once belonged to a guerrilla group. Petro’s program takes square aim at inequality, with higher taxes on land and companies, and seeks to wean the Colombian economy from its dependence on oil and coal.

Both men are pitching a kind of change to the Colombian people — for Duque that means taking a harder line on security than current President Juan Manuel Santos. Petro, for his part, represents a broader repudiation of the center-right political class that has traditionally run the country.

The ideological gulf between the two men atop the polls speaks to the extraordinary polarization of Colombian society as the country deals with the challenges of peace, corruption, economic growth and, now, an influx of Venezuelan refugees that is straining infrastructure and nerves.

If no one wins more than 50 percent on Sunday, a runoff would be held in June.

Paper was originally made from rags until the introduction of cellulose in 1800. Since then, it has transformed into a "circular" industry, with 55% of paper produced in Italy recovered. It no longer just comes from trees, either. Some companies produce paper with scraps from the processing of other products like wool and walnuts.

Learn more about this rags to riches story in Eni's new Energy Superfacts series.

Donald Trump can still win re-election in November, but foreign governments read the same polls we do. They know that Joe Biden heads into the homestretch with a sizeable polling lead — both nationally and in the states most likely to decide the outcome. Naturally, they're thinking ahead to what a Biden foreign policy might look like.

They're probably glad that Biden gives them a half-century track record to study. (He was first elected to local office in 1970 and to the US Senate in 1972.) The six years he spent as ranking member, then chairman, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his term as co-chairman of the Senate's NATO Observer Group, and his eight years as Barack Obama's vice president tell them that he's essentially a "liberal internationalist," a person who believes that America must lead a global advance of democracy and freedom — and that close cooperation with allies is essential for success.

More Show less

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer explores the escalating tension between the world's two biggest geopolitical and economic players—the US and China. With guest Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, Bremmer discusses the modern history of China after the fall of the Soviet Union and why another Cold War might be inevitable.

Watch the episode.


On the GZERO World Podcast, Ian Bremmer explores the escalating tension between the world's two biggest geopolitical and economic players—the US and China. With guest Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, Bremmer discusses the modern history of China after the fall of the Soviet Union and why another Cold War might be inevitable.

Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, and Vladimir Putin gather via Zoom for a meeting of the Pandemic Presidents. But who's the top Corona King of them all? #PUPPETREGIME