Four days after taking office as president, Gustavo Petro still has more than half of his ministerial cabinet vacant and most of the administrative departments, central entities for good governance.
Although he has already announced the names that will be in the key ministries, such as the Treasury, the Foreign Ministry and Defense, The appointment of other high officials who will become his inner circle is still pending.
One of its main chips should be the Minister of the Interior, the person who will risk it for leading the process of the initiatives in Congress. His name will have to be announced soon to start putting out the “fires” that have begun to be generated in the Legislature due to the lack of someone who represents the voice of the Government in the Capitol.
Proof of this is what happened in the election of the comptroller. A political and legal pulse of such dimension has been generated that there has already been a strong fracture between the traditional parties (Liberal, Conservative, La U and Cambio Radical), which have already announced their support for the candidate María Fernanda Rangel, and the Historical Pact , which seeks to remake the list to, apparently, include the name of Julio César Cárdenas.
The lack of presence of a voice that represents the interests of the Government in this discussion has led to the fact that, most likely, as was not the case several years ago, the Executive will be left without a friendly comptroller.
Whoever reaches the Ministry of the Interior will have to be a person experienced in political affairs, with the ability to generate consensus, but also with the temperance of knowing how to handle parliamentarians, who sometimes tend to be moved by interests that go beyond legislative discussions.
Alfonso Prada, who led the junction with the outgoing interior minister, former senator Luis Fernando Velasco and even former minister Juan Fernando Cristo, have sounded for this position, although he has not been so close to the new president in recent days.
The designation of who will occupy the head of the Ministry of Justice is also a priority, even more so when one of the key lines of the Petro government will be the so-called total peacewhich implies a submission to justice of criminal organizations.
This process will require the joint work of the peace commissioner and the Ministry of Justice. This ministry was offered to former magistrate José Gregorio Hernández, who did not accept the appointment for health reasons.
Another of those who said no to Petro, also for health reasons, was the co-director of the Green Alliance Antonio Navarro, who, as SEMANA learned, was offered the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
This ministry will be key for the incoming government, which arrives with a vocation for energy transition, but so far it is not known who will occupy this portfolio.
The Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Science and Technology are also vacant, to which, for now, a representative of the Liberal Party, a group that declared itself in government, would arrive.
For these ministries, the liberals have brought the names of Rodrigo Rojas, former representative to the Chamber, and Doris Méndez, outgoing magistrate of the National Electoral Council. The former senator Iván Darío Agudelo, author of the law that created the Ministry of Science, who could lead this portfolio, has also sounded.
It is expected that in the Ministry of Sports, Commerce or ICT there may be representation of the Green Alliance, another of the parties that declared itself in government.
The greens have already sent the resume of former senator Jorge Londoño, former senator Sandra Ortiz, former representative Mauricio Toro, the former presidential candidate Camilo Romero and the former candidate for the House of Representatives for Santander Luz Dana Leal.
A key portfolio in which many names are not known for now is that of Labor, especially because of Petro’s promise that the State will become the main employer and the modifications he has in mind in pension and labor matters.
In addition to the ministries, most of the high councils are also vacant, in addition to the Dane, the Administrative Department of the Presidency and the National Planning Department (DNP), very important entities for any government.
The ones you already named
As for the appointments that have already been made, most of the names announced have, in general terms, been well received in the country. But they have left disappointments in Petrism.
Although all those appointed to date have been well received by the Historical Pact, they barely recognize two as representatives of pure Petrism: the Minister of the Environment, Susana Muhamad, councilor of Colombia Humana and who was with Petro in the Mayor’s Office of Bogotá, and the Minister of Culture, Patricia Ariza, a survivor of the genocide of the Patriotic Union and who took to the streets during the national strike.
Álvaro Leyva, who will be appointed foreign minister, was received with good eyes, but he does not represent this entire political sector. They see Carolina Corcho as an appointment more from Petro than from Petrismo, like Iván Velásquez, while Cecilia López, José Antonio Ocampo and Alejandro Gaviria are alien to them.
The next Colombian ambassador to the United States, Luis Gilberto Murillo, comes from the campaign of Sergio Fajardo and the government of Juan Manuel Santos, in which he was Minister of the Environment.
The appointments that did go down very well were those of the Arhuaca social leader Leonor Zalabata Torres, who will be ambassador to the UN in New York; Patricia Tobón, Emberá lawyer and Truth Commissioner, who will head the Victims Unit, and Giovani Yule, Nasa sociologist, who will head the Land Restitution Unit.
Although it is not a requirement to take office, Petro is expected to have the majority of his cabinet by August 7. It will be a real race against time that he will undertake in the next few hours.