Following supposed “false accusations” of a $67.2 million budget cut to Colombia’s science institute Colciencias, the ministry’s director was forced to resign, reported Colombia’s Semana news magazine on Tuesday.
Paula Arias, the now ex-director of Colciencias, expressed her discontent for alleged budget cuts to her institute at the Colombian Scientific Convention held in Cartagena last week. Before an audience of some 700 national and international scientists, Arias made public the contents of an email she had received from the National Planning Department (NPD) the previous week announcing next year’s drastic $67.2 million budget cut to Colciencias, more than a third of the ministry’s annual budget for 2014.
The budget cuts would affect 1,000 doctorate scholarships granted by Colciencias each year, according to Colombia’s La Vanguardia newspaper.
However, following Arias’ public statement, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas announced there would not be budget cuts to Colciencias, reported Caracol Radio.
Cardenas claimed Arias’ reaction was “in the heat of the moment” and “left much to be desired,” in an interview with W Radio.
“We had a disagreement regarding the budget (…) they informed us [of the impending budget cuts] last week and I committed the indiscretion of making it public,” commented Arias regarding her resignation on July 8, reported Semana news magazine.
Although the public statement cost Arias her job, she assures that she made the best decision given the statement made by the Treasury Ministry confirming that Colciencias’ budget would not be subject to cuts, reported Semana news magazine.
In support of Arias, the former director of the National University of Colombia, Moises Wasserman, posted on Twitter:
“How shameful the sudden dismissal of the director of Colciensias. They sacked her for not hiding information!”
Qué vergüenza la destitución fulminante de la Directora de Colciencias. ¡La echan por no ocultar información!
— Moisés Wasserman (@mwassermannl) July 8, 2014
- Presupuesto de Colciencias no se va a recortar: MinHacienda (Caracol Radio)
- “Me invitaron a renunciar”: directora de Colciencias (Semana)
- Gobierno remueve del cargo a Directora de Colciencias (La Vanguardia)
- MinHacienda niega que se le vaya recortar presupuesto a Colciencias (W Radio)
- Leaked email (Semana)