Colombia’s Minister of Agriculture Andres Felipe Arias will resign
Saturday in a bid to become the Conservative Party‘s candidate for the
2010 Presidential Elections.
Arias has been the Minister of Agriculture since 2006 and is considered a close ally of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe.
Arias is best known for the Carimagua scandal. The Minister was fiercely criticized when he decided to grant 43,000 acres of government land to large agribusiness companies, promising a fifty-year lease to the highest bidder. The land in question had previously been promised to displaced farmers. After a storm of protest, the Minister decided to give the land to state-owned oil company Ecopetrol, who intends to produce biofuel with the help of displaced farmers.
Arias will be replaced by Andrés Fernandez, director of the Colombiano Agropecuatio Institute.