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Colombia. President Petro replaced seven ministers

by Alberto Galvi

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has replaced seven ministers in a reorganization he hopes will reinvigorate his ambitious reform agenda in Colombia, which has started since he took office but is running into significant obstacles.
Petro announced the changes, replacing key figures like Finance Minister José Antonio Ocampo and Health Minister Carolina Corcho. The new health minister is now Guillermo Alfonso Jaramillo, a heart surgeon and experienced politician. Petro also appointed Juan Fernando Velasco as interior minister.
The Colombian president is grappling with challenges ranging from securing peace with Colombia’s criminal groups and various rebels, to reforming the country’s labor and health care systems. Healthcare reform would expand access to care for the poor and raise the pay of healthcare workers.
Petro has dismissed key ministers including Ocampo from his cabinet, and some political figures, including key allies of the president, have expressed concern that the bold move could backfire. The government reorganization marks the most serious crisis to date within Petro’s government.
The liberal and conservative parties and the National Unity Social Party also distanced themselves from it. Petro also named Mauricio Lizcano minister of technology and communications, while Ocampo was replaced by former university professor Ricardo Bonilla. Petro had called on his entire cabinet to resign, but no one had publicly offered to do so.

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