Death of Colombia’s defense minister spurs three days of mourning in honor of COVID deaths

(Image: President's Office)

The death of Colombia’s defense minister triggered President Ivan Duque to declare three days of mourning in honor of nationals who have died of COVID-19.

In an interview with RCN Radio, Duque said he had declared the three days of national mourning to commemorate “the people who have died, including our defense minister,” Carlos Holmes Trujillo, who died of health complications caused by the coronavirus.

Trujillo died of health complications caused by the coronavirus on the same day as labor union CGT announced that their president, Julio Roberto Gomez, succumbed to COVID-19.

The defense minister and the labor union leader are among the most prominent of the more than 52,000 Colombians who have died of COVID-19 and related diseases during the pandemic over the past year.

Let’s raise our voices for all those who have died from this pandemic in our country.

President Ivan Duque

Trujillo is the first cabinet minister to die from health complications that surged after he tested positive for COVID-19.

How Duque and his cabinet plan to honor the late minister is uncertain as health regulations in place because of the pandemic all but impede a traditional Christian burial with the honors that would be common for a sitting minister.

The families of most people who succumbed to the coronavirus received the remains of their loved ones days after their cremation. Only in exceptional cases have families been allowed to bury their loved ones.

The mayor of Cali, the city where Trujillo became the first elected mayor in 1988, also ordered three days of mourning.

Mayor Ivan Ospina of the opposition Green Alliance party said she felt “profound sadness to begin the day with the news of the death of the minister” and announced “our city will declare three days of mourning and render tribute” to the late defense minister.

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