Green issues under debate in Colombian election


Presidential candidates Federico Gutiérrez (above) and Gustavo Petro (index) led in the polls ahead of the May 29 first-round voting. (Photos courtesy of the campaigns)

Environmental issues loomed unusually large on Colombia’s political agenda as the country prepared for first-round presidential elections on May 29. That’s partly because current President Iván Duque fashioned himself as a world leader in the fight for climate and biodiversity protection after taking office in August 2018. Yet he has drawn criticism from green advocates and scientists for his actual record, fueling debate about environmental policy and enforcement. And Colombia has myriad socio-environmental conflicts—134, or the sixth highest number in the world, according to the Environmental Justice Atlas published by the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Moreover, those conflicts have often been marked by extreme violence, making Colombia the world’s most dangerous nation for environmental defenders, says the international human rights organization Global Witness. Murders of green advocates numbered 65 in 2020, or 29% of all such killings worldwide, Global Witness says. Under Colombian law, Duque cannot run... [Log in to read more]

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