Pope Francis provided important validation of the peace process pursued by President Juan Manuel Santos during a five-day visit to Colombia. The trip, the first by a pontiff to Colombia in 31 years despite the country having the seventh largest Catholic community in the world, appeared to put the seal on the peace accord with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc). The pope was careful to focus on post-conflict reconciliation rather than the accord per se but his visit will provide a boost for Santos’s political heirs and a setback for Senator Alvaro Uribe (president 2002-2010), the leader of the right-wing Centro Democrático (CD) which has made opposition to the peace process the cornerstone of its campaign ahead of presidential and congressional elections in May 2018.

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