Less than 48 hours after the government of Colombia watched the nation vote down its peace deal with FARC, Minister of Education Gina Parody resigned.
The cabinet-level head of schools had taken the lead role in promoting the “Si” campaign to ratify the accord and was expected to return to her post following the referendum last Sunday. But with the agreement being rejected by the — slim — majority of Colombians, the Bogotá-born official instead opted to step down.
Parody’s departure marks the second major figure in the peace process to hand in their resignation since the failed plebiscite. Humberto De la Calle, who served as the top negotiator for President Juan Manuel Santos in Cuba, also said the he would step down. The president rejected his offer, however, and has planned to keep De la Calle on board to help get a second round of talks going with the guerrilla rebels of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
In addition to her disappointment over the outcome of the “Si” campaign, the 42-year-old Parody has faced scorn throughout the year related to her private life. “The former minister had been in the eye of the hurricane in the months before the referendum after ultra-conservative Christians accused her of seeking the ‘gay colonization’ of Colombia’s youth when issuing a teacher’s manual on how to deal with gender-related bullying,” reported Adriaan Alsema of the Medellín-based news outlet Colombia Reports.
He continued: “The same group of ultra-conservatives used her sexual orientation to discredit the FARC deal. The peace agreement Parody was promoting sought gender-specific care for victims of sexual violence, but somehow ended up being explained to concerned Christians as a ‘gender ideology’ that sought to promote sexual diversity.”
Parody became education minister in August 2014 after working in a lower-level education position and previously served as a senator in the national congress from 2006 to 2009. She was one of the few ministers to survive a cabinet overhaul by President Santos in April. Finance Minister Mauricio Cárdenas, Defense Minister Luis Carlos, and Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin were among the others who retained their posts.