Santos names Restrepo agriculture minister

Colombia’s President-elect Juan Manuel Santos named former Treasury Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo Salazar as the minister for agriculture in his incoming government, following his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on Thursday.

Santos said that Restrepo – an economist and politican from Medellin who was housing minister under former Colombian President Andres Pastrana – “was one of my first bosses when I was a delegate to London for the International Coffee Organization.”

Santos continued by saying that one of the plans of his government was “to return all the land that is in the hands of drug traffickers or was in the hands of drug traffickers to the farmers,” a policy which he believes represents “a true agrarian revolution.”

For this and many other reasons “Doctor Juan Camilo Restrepo is the right person to manage this portfolio,” Santos said.

Restrepo studied economic law at the London School of Economics and did a doctorate in administrative law at the Sorbonne. In 1994 he was elected senator and was named the best senator of the year in 1995. He ran as a pre-presidential candidate in 1998, before assuming his position as housing minister under Pastrana the same year.

Santos will travel to Spain Thursday, where the president-elect will meet with King Juan Carlos I, followed by the final meeting of his European tour with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Friday.

Santos will be inaugurated on August 7.

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