the resignation of The Defense minister of Colombia announced on the afternoon of Wednesday is a victory for the climate of social pressure that was generated after discovering that he concealed the death of eight children in a bombing raid against dissidents from the FARC. Guillermo Botero was facing a motion of censure in the Senate, the second attempt to destituirle in just four months, and this time the opposition managed to garner the necessary votes to force her out. The resignation is a way of avoiding a very likely defeat, but it is also a demonstration that not everything is worth it. Not anymore, at least.

The decision was precipitated in the last hours, after the minister, one of the politicians of the Government of Ivan Duque closest to the former president Alvaro Uribe, appear to defend that bombing, carried out in August in the department of Caquetá. “It was an operation lawful, made with all the rigor of International Humanitarian Law and with support of the office of the Prosecutor,” he said. Shortly after, his party, the Democratic Center, have closed ranks with him, considered “essential” not to abandon the charge and reeled off statistics about his achievements in the fight against drug trafficking.


Resigns the minister of Defense of Colombia after the scandal over the death of eight under The questionable management of the minister of Defense raised the political tension in Colombia Editorial | Money in Colombia

But the debate was not that. Both of the complaints lodged in the Congress by senator Roy Barreras as the outrage shown during the day by large sectors of public opinion had to do with some foundational principles of a democracy: the respect for life, the transparency and proportionality of the force used by the authorities. Colombia has just come out of an armed conflict of more than half a century with the FARC. And although the State has not solved the problem of the violence that continues to strike especially to rural communities, social leaders and indigenous people, the country is changing. Defense policy must take this into account.

questions to Botero began months ago, after confirming the implementation of a system of incentives within the Armed Forces that reavivaban the phantom of false positives. This is, extrajudicial executions of civilians -the Prosecution accounted 2.248 between 1998 and 2014 – as presented after as guerrillas fallen in combat. Before the scandal, the Government withdrew this guideline, but the storm died down. To that is added the suspicion that the minister would like to hide the circumstances of the death of a former demobilized from the FARC, Dimar Torres, killed last April 22.

at The beginning presented the case as an incident. At the end of October, a research of the magazine Semana showed that it was a murder planned by the military. Despite that, Duke didn’t budge and stated that it did not seem a sufficient reason to ask for his resignation. Now the circumstances have changed. The continuity of the minister, who in June won by far the first attempt of a censure motion, had become untenable and the Executive supposed to be more of a burden than a solution to the challenges in the field of Defence. Today you had a meeting with the president and just hours after he announced his departure. “It is my duty to have an adequate reading of the political situation, so I decided to submit resignation from the post of minister,” said Botero through a press release.

That situation is not only political, that is to say, you do not have to do only with the pressure from the opposition, but that is also a proof of the efficiency of the enforcement procedures and democratic control. Waiting to know the name of the substitute, the president thanked Botero the work done, stressed his “commitment, sacrifice and leadership in the industry,” and reported that it is left as minister with responsibility for the general Luis Fernando Navarro, commander of the Military Forces.


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