Accessibility links

Breaking News

Colombia President-elect Duque Names Cabinet Members

FILE - Colombia's President-elect Ivan Duque speaks with reporters after a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, July 5, 2018.
FILE - Colombia's President-elect Ivan Duque speaks with reporters after a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, July 5, 2018.

Colombia's president-elect, Ivan Duque, named key ministers to his Cabinet in the last week, announcing Guillermo Botero as defense minister and Jonathan Malagon as housing minister on Tuesday.

Duque takes office on Aug. 7, succeeding President Juan Manuel Santos.

Here are biographies of the main Cabinet positions. Duque also named Nancy Patricia Gutierrez as interior minister and Gloria Alonso as head of the national economic planning department.

Defense Minister — Guillermo Botero

Botero is a lawyer, business owner and former university lecturer who has headed the national retail federation since 2003.

As head of the defense ministry, Botero faces the difficult task of fighting a surge in crime gangs and dissident FARC members who have moved into areas left vacant by fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) after they signed a peace accord in 2016 with the government. The crime gangs are becoming increasingly violent as they fight over lucrative drug trafficking routes and illegal mining.

He will replace Luis Carlos Villegas.

Foreign Minister — Carlos Holmes

Holmes is a lawyer and former mayor of the western city of Cali. This will be his third ministerial post, having served as interior minister and education minister. He was ambassador to Austria and head of the Colombia mission for the European Union.

Holmes will be at the head of efforts to mitigate any diplomatic issues that stem from the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans flowing across the border into Colombia due to the economic crisis in the neighboring nation. He will also need to face a dispute with Nicaragua over maritime limits and deal with the United States over drug trafficking.

He will replace Maria Angela Holguin.

Agriculture Minister — Andres Valencia

Valencia, an economist, has served as the head of the National Federation of Poultry Farmers and as sales manager at the coffee federation, where he was also responsible for sales to the Asian market. He served as a free trade negotiator at the trade and industry ministry and as head of the Colombian Agriculture Institute.

As agriculture minister, Valencia will be at the sharp end of post-conflict Colombia as it seeks to bolster the sector's importance in the economy and push into areas once occupied by Marxist rebels.

He will replace Juan Guillermo Zuluaga.

Finance Minister - Alberto Carrasquilla

Carrasquilla was finance minister from 2003 to 2007 under then-President Alvaro Uribe and was also a technical economist at the central bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The 59-year old Carrasquilla faces the difficult task of pushing unpopular fiscal changes through a divided Congress — including an overhaul of the pension system — while helping stimulate weak growth and averting a downgrade by credit ratings agencies.

He will replace Mauricio Cardenas.

  • 16x9 Image


    Reuters is a news agency founded in 1851 and owned by the Thomson Reuters Corporation based in Toronto, Canada. One of the world's largest wire services, it provides financial news as well as international coverage in over 16 languages to more than 1000 newspapers and 750 broadcasters around the globe.