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Weekly Report - 22 December 2016 (WR-16-50)

COLOMBIA: Santos-Uribe rift confounds papal intervention

“Peace is constructed, as I told his Holiness, like a cathedral, brick by brick,” Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos said on 16 December. “And this requires the efforts of a lot of people over a long time.” Santos was speaking after meeting Pope Francis in the Vatican. The meeting went far beyond mere protocol because it marked only the second time in six years that Santos had met his predecessor and chief antagonist, former president Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), the leader of the right-wing opposition party Centro Democrático (CD) in the senate, who the pope decided to invite. The cathedral analogy is apposite because, as far as Santos is concerned, Uribe is hampering efforts to construct it. In Uribe’s view, construction of the cathedral has begun without obtaining requisite prior approval.

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