This is the first in a series of abbreviated and carefully curated lists of the colossal f-*k ups that President Ivan Duque and his government has to face in an average week. These blunders may be self-inflicted (de que me hablas viejo?) or they may be inherited, but all the same, sometimes they are so abundant that we risk losing sight of them all.
A week in the life of President Ivan Duque, in no particular order
Disgraced vote-buying former congresswoman Aida Merlano reveals, from Venezuela, the names of those responsible for organizing her dramatic escape from authorities during a dental appointment in Bogotá (Gerlein and Char). Merlano also, whilst in custody of Venezuelan authorities claims to have dirt on the whole administration and plans of releasing it all. President Duque’s government files a request for Merlano’s extradition with the government of self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela Juan Guaido, therefore handing a huge PR coup for actual Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Reports surface in the Daily Beast and erm, the Daily Mail that the president’s political patron, former president now Sen. Alvaro Uribe, was behind a lucrative deal involving immense shipments of cocaine being shipped out of Bogotá’s El Dorado airport between 2006 and 2007. Thickening the plot is that the news that the agreement enabled El Chapo Guzman to store cocaine ready for exportation in a custom-built cool warehouse alongside the runway. (See Ambassador Sanclemente at the end of this page)
President Ivan Duque’s use of the presidential aircraft to transport his children and a number of their friends for his daughter’s birthday party at the Panaca amusement park in the Coffee Zone is widely condemned and becomes a social media comedy skit. This results in a fairly amusing hissy fit fisty cuffs interview between a notable journalist and the president’s head of communications. Neither emerges well from this drama, although President Ivan Duque’s comms rep, referred to as “Grover” from Sesame Street at one point, fares marginally worse.
ELN guerrillas announce that from 14 February and for a duration of 72 hours there will be a Paro Armado, literally an “armed strike,” where members of this guerrilla group will prohibit land travel, businesses from opening and presumably launch attacks on military or police installations. Catatumbo in Norte de Santander has already been locked down by the ELN as have regions of Cauca.
Colombia’s ambassador to Uruguay, Fernando Sanclemente, is the unwitting victim of a nefarious plot to sully his good name as a cocaine laboratory is found on land he owns near to the town of Guasca. Of course, the land was rented out and was in turn used by “narcos invisibles,” as smaller cocaine producers are being called. Apparently, the set up could produce up to half a ton of the drug every month. In an unfortunate twist for Ambassador Sanclemente, he is also known for being the ex director general of Aerocivil, so the guy in charge of airports and air traffic control etc, between 2005-2010. Do you see a potential link here?
Did I miss anything?