Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez’s scheduled appearance at Harvard University Friday to take part in a discussion of Colombia’s peace talks, though his invitation has met fierce opposition from students’ groups and human rights defenders at the university over his anti-progressive social views and role in attempting to destabilize peace negotiations in Havana.
The Harvard Law School event’s promotional material cites Ordonez as an “advocate of including victims in the peace process,” yet opponents of his appearance fear it will provide the official with a platform to peddle his ultra-right wing agenda. They say he has made concerted efforts to derail the peace process and therefore should not be considered a viable source on it.
Ordonez is a key figure among Colombia’s extreme right which has vocally opposed the peace process, with former President Alvaro Uribe the most prominent among them.
As part of his drive to oppose the talks, Uribe established the Democratic Center Party in 2013, through which he won election to the country’s senate in early 2014.
In subsequent presidential elections held in June, the Democratic Center Party’s candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga — seen by many as a puppet of Uribe — took incumbent Juan Manuel Santos to a run-off election, running on a staunch anti-peace negotiations ticket until late in the race.
Santos won that election, in what was seen by many as a public endorsement of the peace talks. However, since then Uribe and his party, as well as Ordóñez, have remained critical of the process and sought to gain political capital whenever the talks have hit troubled ground — such as during the recent capture of General Ruben Dario Alzate.
Uribe and Ordóñez, as key figures among Colombia’s reactionary right wing, have also garnered the support of extremist groups, such as neo-Nazis La Tercera Fuerza (The Third Force) and ultra-nationalists Restauración Nacional (National Restoration).
Ordóñez was also criticized by the students for his anti-progressive views on LGBTI rights and abortion.
In 2013, Harvard University was forced to cancel an appearance by Ordóñez following significant protests.