The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic, Orlando Jorge Mera, was killed on Monday morning at the age of 55, a spokesman for President Homero Figueroa said. He was shot by his friend Miguel Cruz in his own office. Cruz has been arrested.
The shots caused a panic in the ministry building. According to witnesses, there were four to seven of them. – Everyone started to run away – reported the councilor of the town of Sabaneta Juan de Dios Liberada, who was waiting in the corridor to meet the minister. The workers were evacuated.
According to Faust Rosario Adames, head of the local Acento portal, what led to the tragedy was the trust that the perpetrator had in both the minister and the team responsible for his safety. – It was his childhood friend, acquaintance from school. They had been friends for many years. There are many photos where they are together. According to our information, when an argument broke out in the minister’s office, the assistant, hearing raised voices, asked if he should call security. The minister replied, however, that there was no such need, because he was his friend – he said.
According to the journalist, the reason for the disagreement between the friends was the closure of Cruz’s company because it did not meet environmental requirements.
Minister Orlando Salvador’s son Jorge Villegas confirmed in a statement issued on behalf of the family that the killer was “a father’s childhood friend who had been admitted to his office.” As he added, “one of my father’s greatest virtues was that he did not hold a grudge.” He stressed that the family forgives the killer and trusts the actions of the judiciary. He also asked for the privacy of the family to be respected.
On Monday afternoon, the prosecution reported that Cruz fled to a nearby church after murdering his friend, handed the gun over to the priest and confessed that he had killed the man, but did not reveal his identity. Ultimately, he turned himself over to the authorities.
Long political traditions
Orlando Jorge Mera was the son of the former president Dominican Republic Jorge Blanco (1982-1986). In August 2020, he became the minister of environment in the administration of President Luis Abinader. He came from a well-known family with a long political tradition – his son is an MP, his wife is the ambassador to Brazil, and his sister is the deputy minister of innovation.
He was a lawyer by education, politically associated with the Modern Revolutionary Party, one of the most important in the Dominican Republic. According to the “Acento” portal, since he became a minister, he has brought to justice over two thousand people for non-compliance with environmental regulations, including former and current military, entrepreneurs and policemen,
“On behalf of the government and President Luis Abinader, I express my deepest condolences to the family,” said President Homero Figueroa’s spokesman. He added that the police are still investigating the circumstances of the incident.
Main photo source: InfoENN.com