Colombia’s defense minister resigned on Wednesday days ahead of a no confidence vote supported by the majority of parties in the senate.
Controversial Defense Minister Guillermo Botero resigned a day after a shocking no confidence debate in the Senate on Tuesday.
During the debate, Senator Roy Barreras revealed that the minister had kept the death of eight children in an army bombardment in August secret.
Duque praises former defense minister
President Ivan Duque, who called the August 29 bombardment an “impeccable operation” said he had appointed Armed Forces commander General Luis Fernando Navarro as Botero’s temporary replacement.
Duque failed to refer to the mounting scandals involving the former defense minister and thanked Botero “for his commitment, sacrifice and leadership in the sector” and for the “excellent results in the past 15 months.”
“I want to reiterate that during the tenure of Guillermo Botero we were able to stop the growing trend of coca cultivation, reduced homicides with 2%, personal injuries with 18%, kidnapping with almost 50%, as well as major blows against ringleaders of the ELN, FARC dissidents and organized armed groups,” Duque said.
According to the country’s medical examiner’s office homicides went up 2% in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year.
Botero’s inevitable fall
Botero resigned after it had become clear he would not survive a no confidence vote scheduled for Wednesday next week.
This motion was filed over his alleged ineptitude and the negative effects this would have on public and national security.
Furthermore, the former defense minister was accused of trying to conceal homicides committed by the national army that were presented as combat kills.
On Wednesday, the U Party said it would join the Liberal Party and Radical Change of the center-right voting bloc in their support for the no confidence motion, which already counts on the support of the leftist opposition.
Botero’s resignation is one of the biggest blows for Duque, whose far-right Democratic Center party was brutally punished in local elections last week and who is facing major anti-government protests later this month.