This Tuesday, April 25, the Colombian president announced a rethinking of his government. For this, he proposed great ministerial changes. This is Petro's new cabinet.
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Rodríguez
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Leer en español: Colombia: Grandes cambios ministeriales en el gabinete de Petro
On Tuesday of this week, Colombian President Gustavo Petro called for the resignation of an important part of his cabinet. Today, Wednesday April 26, a new list of ministers is already known, all ideologically closer to the president. Here we tell you who left and who entered Petro's cabinet.
First, some background
Almost exactly a couple of months ago, the first important ministerial change of the Petro Government took place. The president requested the resignation of three of his ministers: Alejandro Gaviria (Education), Patricia Ariza (Culture) and María Isabel Urrutia (Sports). Perhaps the most commented thing about this first change after just six months of government was the way in which it occurred, rather than the reasons. Ariza and Urrutia claimed to have found out about the ministerial change through the president's address and not in a private meeting. In Petro's version, in an interview for Cambio Magazine , this situation was a consequence of how tight his schedule was that week, during which he had to face another couple of crises. However, he affirmed, the three ministers were notified and offered another role in the Government. All three declined.
Possibly, the cabinet change that impressed the most and that was mostly covered was that of Alejandro Gaviria, who was rumored to be making important criticisms from the Government of the health reform promoted by the until today Minister of Health, Carolina Corcho. Regarding the departure of Paricia Ariza, on the other hand, it was rumored that it was due to disagreements with the first lady, Verónica Alcocer, but these rumors have not been confirmed with any of its protagonists.
Who stays and who goes?
Two months later, Petro affirms that he must rethink the Government in order to promote and carry out the set of reforms that he is proposing. For that, he requested the resignation of eight of his ministers. Here we show you what the new cabinet looks like with the changes of the last two months.
Much has been speculated from yesterday to today with the announcements of President Gustavo Petro. On the one hand, the speech from the Government is to protect the reforms that it considers urgent and essential for change. One of those that have caused the most controversy and that has received the most criticism, from the government and from the opposition, is the health reform, which caused, it is suspected, the departure of Alejandro Gaviria. That is why today the departure of Minister Carolina Corcho, author and defender of the reform, is surprising.
The departure of José Antonio Ocampo, who was until today the Minister of Finance, is also surprising. Ocampo, in addition to bringing some peace of mind to center and right-wing voters, had also been effective in presenting the tax reform to congress, the first of the Petro government. It is possible that his departure is due to a quota cut from the traditional parties, with which Petro had decided to form a coalition that didn't work.
Thus, the Liberal, Conservative and U parties declared themselves government parties, despite being so ideologically distant from the current president. This, of course, did not come to pass in practice, because although they had quotas in the cabinet, there was no support for the reforms promoted by Gustavo Petro. This disagreement may also be the cause of the current ministerial change that, according to the president, seeks to protect the reforms and guarantee some governance. However, this last point is exactly the one that worries some of his voters: there will be, after this change after less than a year in government, more reluctance towards the reforms from the congress and from the citizenry.
Finally, regarding the new ministers, one thing is clear: they are all closer to the ideological line of President Petro. Most of them come from his secretariats of Bogotá Humana, his period as mayor of Bogotá. However, this panorama does generate some uncertainty so shortly after taking office and from it arise concerns about stability and consensus in the current government, which is supposed to be the one of change.