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Colombia’s President Iván Duque on early pandemic response: “Multilateralism didn’t work as it should”

In an interview with GZERO Media, Colombia's President Iván Duque discusses early missteps in global coordination on pandemic response that he feels exacerbated the spread of the virus. "If we all had acknowledged what was really going on in Asia, maybe we would have taken faster draconian measures to protect the world," he told Ian Bremmer.

While Colombia was initially praised for a swift and successful approach to COVID-19, infection rates and cases have spiked in recent weeks as lockdown restrictions ease in order to alleviate strain on an already battered economy. In the conversation, Bremmer and Duque also discuss the Venezuelan refugee crisis, and how economic fallout of the pandemic has forced at least 100,000 to leave Colombia and return home.

US election seen from Colombia: “Like an empire that’s going down”

Camila Zuluaga is a journalist with Caracol TV and Blu Radio in Colombia. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Alex Kliment: How could the outcome of the US election affect Colombia?

CZ: Candidate Biden was very supportive of the peace process [between the Colombian government and the FARC, signed in 2016], and if he wins, this will be a significant change because President Trump did not know or care much about the peace process.

Biden was very close to [former Colombian President Juan Manuel] Santos and was very close to the process itself. So if Biden wins, he would press Colombian leaders to apply the peace process.

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What We're Watching: Modi plays to his base, US visit to Taiwan irks China, Colombia arrests ex-leader

Modi riles up his base: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday set the first stone for a new Hindu temple to be built over the remains of a Mughal-era mosque in Uttar Pradesh state. The site, in the town of Ayodhya, has been disputed for decades by Hindus and Muslims, but the Supreme Court last November ruled, based on archeological findings, that construction of the temple could begin. The ruling dismayed many of India's 180 million Muslims, who worry that Modi — who was accompanied at the ceremony by Mohan Bhagwat, an ultranationalist Hindu activist whose followers helped to destroy the old mosque amid a wave of sectarian violence in 1992 — wants to replace India's secular foundations with his more explicitly Hindu vision of the country's identity. Although months ago Modi saw sizable protests over a controversial new citizenship law that discriminated against Muslims, he has so far proven to be extremely resilient and remains widely popular in India.

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COVID lockdowns in Colombia forcing refugees to return to Venezuela

GZERO World takes viewers to Colombia as Venezuelan refugees risk everything once again—this time to cross back into their home country. As pandemic lockdowns and economic downturn threaten jobs and livelihood in Colombia, many are left with no choice but to return to Venezuela and an uncertain future.

Kendry Fernando tells his story as he walks hundreds of miles with his family, looking for work, and considering a return home to repressive conditions in Maduro's Venezuela.

Latin America's two big coronavirus challenges

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, many Latin American countries were struggling with low prices for their commodities exports, a Venezuelan refugee crisis, and a surge of street protests across the region.

Then came the worst global public health crisis in a hundred years.

So far, there are about half a million confirmed cases in Latin America and about 25,000 deaths, but spotty testing and reporting mean both figures are too low.

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