Today the name of the new Minister of Mines and Energy was announced. Replacing the resigned Irene Vélez will be Omar Andrés Camacho, a native of Bogotá who was already working as an advisor in the ministry and was also a candidate for the House of Representatives for the party Comunes, made up of former FARC members.
A controversial ministry
The departure of Irene Vélez was known last week, making her the latest of the 11 ministers who have left President Gustavo Petro’s government in less than a year. Vélez was considered the most controversial minister by the opposition due to her strong convictions in favor of renewable energies and halting oil exploration in Colombia. She was a strong advocate for the fight against climate change.
Now, Omar Andrés Camacho will take over from Vélez as soon as his appointment is officially confirmed. Camacho, who already works as an advisor to the ministry, will be responsible for the energy policy of a government that has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to promoting renewable energies, facing harsh criticism from those who believe that the country cannot give up the public revenue generated by oil for Colombia.
New Minister’s background
The new minister was born in the city of Bogotá 42 years ago. He is an electronic engineer and holds a degree in physics, as well as a master’s degree in renewable energies. He was a university lecturer at the Francisco José de Caldes District University and also writes as an opinion columnist for various media outlets.
Given his age, he has a relatively short political career but with a strong ideological profile. He ran for office in January 2018 as a representative for the party Comunes. He was also a spokesperson for the organization Marcha Patriótica. Some opponents have used his decidedly left-leaning profile to question his appointment.
“Now they have put a declared guerrilla member in charge,” wrote conservative candidate for the Medellín City Council, Andrés “El Gury” Rodríguez, on his Twitter account. The controversial politician from Antioquia is a staunch opponent of the current progressive mayor of Medellín and did not lose time in using Camacho’s appointment to discredit him, accusing him of being a “guerrilla member.”
Camacho follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, Irene Vélez. In the past, the future minister wrote on his Twitter account: “Oil and gas are running out. That is why their dependence and scarcity will make them more expensive. Not because Petro says so. They are non-renewable resources, and that is why energy (transition) is urgent.”
The new minister’s task will be to continue the ambitious project in favor of the energy transition. All of this is within the context announced by the presidency of turning the country into a “world power of life,” a cause that both Camacho and Vélez are staunch advocates of.