Following Tuesday’s shocking debate in which center-right Senator Roy Barreras (U Party) revealed that President Ivan Duque and the minister presented the bombing of minors and children as an “impeccable operation” against “narco-terrorist criminals” a switch was flipped in Congress.
Botero’s chances in Congress
The Liberal Party (LP) and Radical Change (CR) of the center-right voting bloc announced on Tuesday that all their senators would vote in favor of removing Botero from office, according to weekly Semana.
Barreras said that his motion is co-sponsored by “members of all parties,” including at least two members of President Ivan Duque’s minority coalition.
The leftist opposition, which tried to remove the minister from office months ago already, is almost certain to vote in favor of the motion.
Barreras’ own U Party is split in two, but that doesn’t seem to matter.
Without counting the U Party, the motion is allegedly already supported by 57 of the 105 senators. Barreras only needs 53.
This would mean Botero’s fate is sealed unless the coalition is able to force its own senators to withdraw their support and chip away announced support from the LP and CR.
Presumed support for motion of confidence
How to make history: lessons from Botero
In the 200-year history of Colombia’s republic, no minister has ever been removed from office by Congress, but Botero has been a special case since the beginning.
The hawkish former business representative has triggered controversy almost constantly even before he took office in August last year.
Since then, he has lied to Congress to conceal alleged crimes against humanity, promoted numerous allegedly corrupt military officials and has shown an ineptitude that is exceptional even for Colombian standards.
Even on Tuesday, Botero’s biggest enemy was Botero; the minister appeared unaware that indiscriminately bombing victims of child recruitment to pieces is in violation of international humanitarian law.
Presumably uninformed about the minors’ deaths, Duque is on record calling the bombing an “impeccable operation” against “narco-terrorist criminals.”
Unless the president wants to take responsibility and risk making history, he may have to sack his defense minister before the Senate votes on the motion of no confidence next week.