Colombia’s education minister resigned Tuesday after she failed to successfully lead a campaign for public ratification of peace with FARC rebels and after months of political bullying over her sexual orientation.
Education Minister Gina Parody was the manager of the “Yes” campaign that unsuccessfully sought public ratification of peace with the country’s largest rebel group.
With a razor-sharp margin and amid an embarrassing 62% abstention rate, Colombian voters on Sunday rejected the deal, plunging the country in a political and public security chaos unseen since the late 1990s.
Parody was supposed to return to her post as Education Minister on Monday, but after the devastating result of the referendum she decided to call it quits.
The former minister had been in the eye of the hurricane in the months before the referendum after ultra-conservative Christians accused her of seeking the “gay colonization” of Colombia’s youth when issuing a teacher’s manual on how to deal with gender-related bullying.
The same group of ultra-conservatives used her sexual orientation to discredit the FARC deal.
The peace agreement Parody was promoting sought gender-specific care for victims of sexual violence, but somehow ended up being explained to concerned Christians as a “gender ideology” that sought to promote sexual diversity.
“God will make us answer for this,” said fervent “No” campaigner Alejandro Ordoñez, who weeks before the referendum was fired by the State Council for his often illegal persecution of leftist politicians and talks with the FARC. Since his removal from office he focused fully on trying to sink the deal with the extreme-left rebels.
The “gender ideology” conspiracy theory convinced some Christians that the peace deal overtly sought to attack traditional family values.
After months of having her sexual orientation used to sabotage her work, Parody on Tuesday threw in the towel.
Vice-Minister Francisco Cardona, who had taken over Parody’s functions while she was leading the referendum campaign, will replace the former minister.