General Gustavo Matamoros Camacho, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Colombia’s armed forces, is to be replaced, various local media reported Thursday.
The announcement was made Thursday morning by Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera at a military base in Bogota.
El Colombiano newspaper reports two possible explanations for Matamoros’ departure. The first is that he himself requested it, voluntarily stepping aside. The second is that the Commander of Colombia’s armed forces, Admiral Edgar Cely, asked President Juan Manual Santos to order Matamoros’s departure.
This announcement follows a week of speculation, prompted by rumours of divisions within the upper echelons of Colombia’s armed forces. These apparently related to the fact that Matamoros had in the past always been a former soldier, whereas Cely was a navy admiral, according to El Tiempo.
Cely strongly denied this, saying that the “colour of one’s uniform” is unimportant.
Cely also had to deny the accusation that a number of army generals refuse to follow his orders due to him having a naval background, Caracol Radio reported.
General Luis Paredes, currently director of armed forces training, will replace Matamoros as Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Jairo Aponte, currently, the armed forces’ head of planning, will assume Paredes’ former role.