Colombia’s defence minister dies with Covid-19

Carlos Holmes Trujillo (69), a long-serving senior politician, had viral pneumonia

Carlos Holmes Trujillo in November 2019. Photograph: Joedson Alves/EPA

Carlos Holmes Trujillo in November 2019. Photograph: Joedson Alves/EPA


Colombia’s defence minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has died from viral pneumonia related to Covid-19, the government said on Tuesday.

Mr Trujillo was reported to be infected with coronavirus earlier this month and was transferred to an intensive care unit. He died in the military hospital in Bogota aged 69.

“The death of Carlos Holmes fills me with pain,” a visibly moved President Ivan Duque said. “Colombia has lost one of its best men.”

Before serving as defence minister, from where he co-ordinated military and police operations in the fight against drug trafficking, illegal armed groups, illicit mining and other criminal acts, Mr Trujillo served as foreign minister in Mr Duque’s government.

He was a lawyer, politician and diplomat whose career spanned more than 30 years, as mayor of the city of Cali and a member of the National Assembly, which reformed Colombia’s constitution in 1991. He also served as interior minister and education minister among other roles.

Other notable Colombians infected with coronavirus include first lady Maria Juliana Ruiz, who tested positive in November, and vice-president Marta Lucia Ramirez, who tested positive in October.

Colombia has reported more than two million coronavirus infections, as well as close to 52,000 deaths due to Covid-19, the disease it causes. – Reuters