Colombia’s defense minister resigns for not disclosing the death of minors y military operations
Colombia’s defense minister has resigned after coming under fire for failing to disclose the deaths of several minors in a military operation. Guillermo Botero submitted his resignation to President Iván Duque on Tuesday evening, citing the current “political circumstances.”
Duque announced on Twitter he was accepting Botero’s resignation and praised him for helping reduce record levels of coca cultivation.
Legislators held a heated debate Tuesday over whether to remove Botero from office.
Sen. Roy Barreras accused Botero of neglecting to inform the public that at least seven minors had been killed in a military operation against dissidents with the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Authorities confirmed on Wednesday that eight minors died in the operation.
Botero also faced criticism for his handling of a recent spate of violence against indigenous leaders.
Botero, a 71-year-old businessman, has been battered by repeated scandals. In September the government was forced to defend a military report that it said proved the Venezuelan government supports guerrilla groups and drug traffickers, after officials admitted it contained photographs taken by media outlets in Colombia, not Venezuela.
Botero, charged with managing the country’s fight against crime gangs, FARC dissidents and the still-active National Liberation Army (ELN), has held his post since the start of Duque’s administration in August 2018.