President Iván Duque appointed Marta Lucía Ramírez, who is currently Colombia’s vice president, as the new chancellor on Wednesday after Claudia Blum resigned from office last week amid the tension generated by the protests and growing international community concern.
“I have asked her to assume the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to exercise the representation of our country in multilateral spaces where we want to reaffirm not only the democratic spirit of our country, but also the conviction of being a country always respectful of human rights,” the president said in an official statement.
Ramírez, who will continue to serve as vice president, arrives at the Foreign Ministry when the focus of the international community is placed on Colombia due to the complaints of human rights violations during the demonstrations against the government policies that have continued since April 28 and in the that dozens of people have died and more than 900 civilians and another 900 policemen have been injured.
The representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Juliette de Rivero, has expressed her concern about the “excessive use of force by security agents” during the demonstrations and in recent days has called for rigorous investigations into violent deaths of young people during protests.
“We need the whole world to see this Colombia of freedom, of democratic values, the Colombia committed to the principles and dignity of every Colombian,” said Ramírez after her appointment. “Colombia is a country that has great potential not only to attract investment, but also to have a much deeper economic development where we generate more jobs for young people, for women,” she added.
On the eve of the appointment, the Foreign Ministry announced through its social networks that it is analyzing the possibility of reopening as of June 1 the border with Venezuela, closed since February 2019, without specifying whether the opening will be pedestrian or road and whether The frozen diplomatic relations with the government of Nicolás Maduro would also be reactivated.
The decision was celebrated by the governor of the Norte de Santander border department, Silvano Serrano, who believes it will help reactivate trade between neighboring nations.
In addition, the Foreign Ministry announced that the maritime, land and river border crossings with Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil will be reopened, clarifying that biosecurity measures will continue to be required to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Ramírez, a conservative politician with a long history as a public servant, was a senator, Minister of Commerce and Colombian ambassador to France. In addition, she has been the first woman in high dignities of the State traditionally occupied by men: in 2002 she was the Prime Minister of Defense, during the government of Álvaro Uribe Vélez, and in 2018 she became the first vice president of the country.
In 2014, Ramírez was a presidential candidate for the Conservative Party and in local politics she sounded like a possible candidate for the presidential elections next year, however, the law requires that candidates resign from their positions of vice president or ministers one year before the start of the elections to be held on May 29, 2022.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.