BOGOTA – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Tuesday a series of changes in the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce, Transport and Housing in order to deal efficiently with his last year in office.
Santos announced in a televised statement that these changes are aimed at “intensifying” his administration’s performance, and recalled that next Aug. 7 is the first day of his government’s last year in power.
“In the year that remains for this government, every day, every minute will be dedicated to working with more conviction, more determination to improve Colombians’ quality of life, to continue constructing the peace and offering new and better opportunities for all,” the president said.
He said that heading the Commerce, Industry and Tourism Ministry will be the current Colombian ambassador to Germany, Maria Lorena Gutierrez, replacing Claudia Lacouture.
The Housing Ministry will be the responsibility of Jaime Pumarejo, current urban development manager for the Barranquilla city government, replacing Elsa Noguera, former mayor of that Colombian city on the Caribbean.
At the Transport Ministry, formerly in the hands of Jorge Rojas, will be German Cardona in a position he previously held between August 2010 and May 2012.
Santos said he has accepted the resignation of Agriculture Minister Aurelio Iragorri, who goes on to direct the ruling Partido de la U, but asked him to remain in the ministry until the current emergency caused by an outbreak of foot and mouth disease is resolved.
The president also announced changes in several state organizations, like the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), to be directed by Juan Carlos Lopez, and Victims United, to be led by Yolanda Pinto, widow of Guillermo Gaviria, who was slain by the FARC when he was governor of Antioquia.
Last July 19, on the eve of the nation’s Independence Day celebrations, the Cabinet presented its formal resignation to Santos so the president would be free to form the team that will take his government to the end of his term in office a little over a year from now.