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Colombia Presidential Front-Runner Dogged by Mentor's Shadow

June 14, 2018

Until recently, Ivan Duque led the life of a run-of-the-mill Washington, D.C., suburbanite: He had a spacious apartment with his wife in a quiet pocket north of the city, a cushy job at an international development bank, and a love for the city’s iconic Kramerbooks bookshop to satiate his literary appetite.

Then the powerful former president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, took him under his wing. What followed was one of the most rapid political ascents in the nation’s history. In the span of four years, the prematurely graying Duque went from being an unknown technocrat to a popular senator and now the frontrunner in Colombia’s first presidential race since the signing of a historic peace accord.

But one question has been dogging Duque on the campaign trail ahead of Sunday’s runoff: Will he be his own man as president or a puppet of his both revered and vehemently detested political mentor?

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