Changes in the military leadership cause tension in Colombia

The new president of Colombia, Gustavo Petrois promoting an unprecedented change in the country’s military leadership, raising tension between the extreme left government and the country’s Armed Forces.

Petro determined the passage to the reserve (retirement) of 22 generals from the National Police, 16 from the Army, seven from the Navy and three from the Air Force.

According to the chief executive, the criterion used to change the country’s military leadership was “zero violation of human rights and zero corruption”. However, Petro’s statement sounded like an indictment of those leaving.

In the official announcement, Petro was accompanied by the new commanders and his defense minister, the jurist Iván Velásquez — known for his defense of human rights and for being behind legal complaints against former president Álvaro Uribe.

The new commander of the Armed Forces, General Helder Giraldo Bonilla, has a degree in human rights and has worked in the implementation of programs in the area. Last year, he led a 25,000-strong troop that took part in a national strike against the government of Iván Duque.

The naval engineer José Joaquín Amézquita becomes responsible for the General Staff, while General Luis Mauricio Ospina, with a background in human rights, became commander of the Army.

“The success of these forces will be measured in substantially reducing massacres and increasing freedoms and rights,” the president said.

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