Guatemalan President Names New Defense Minister
By Dialogo May 09, 2011
Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom dismissed his defense minister, Abraham Valenzuela, due to the end of his military career, and named Brigadier General Juan José Ruiz in his place, the president announced at a press conference.
“The change is strictly due to a military shift, because (Valenzuela) ended his military career,” the head of state commented at the National Palace of Culture, a former seat of government in the center of the Guatemalan capital.
Ruiz, who was serving as head of the Defense General Staff, took office upon being sworn in by the president the same evening.
The new minister is the fourth to occupy that position in the three years and four months of Colom’s administration so far. Valenzuela served more than two years in the post, the longest period in office.
The president also replaced the head of the Presidential Security Administrative Affairs Secretariat, Ricardo Marroquín, whose place was taken by René González.
The secretariat is the agency responsible for providing security for the presidents of this Central American country.
The dismissals took place after the president ordered the redoubling of security measures in the country in view of possible reactions by the Al Qaeda terrorist group following the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, in a U.S. attack in Pakistan.