Minister shot dead in office — Analysis

Dominican Republic’s minister of environment and natural resources was killed by a close friend

Miguel Cruz killed Orlando Jorge Mera the Dominican minister of environment and natural resources. He was close friends with him since childhood.

According to employees at the ministry, reporters heard about seven shots being fired from the building. The building also houses the Ministry of Tourism, has been barred by police. Cruz was reported to have been taken into custody at a church nearby. The motive behind the crime has not been established. 

Abinader sent him his condolences to Jorge’s family on Twitter, writing “I deeply regret the death of my good friend, our minister, Orlando Jorge Mera.”

The victim’s family also released a statement. “Our family forgives the person who did this,”Then it added that “One of Orlando’s greatest legacies was to not hold grudges.”

Numerous Dominican officials have also shared condolences through social media. One of them was Leonel Fernandez who claimed he called him an “amazing” president. “great human being, public man and a committed server.”

Vice President Raquel Pena, the sister of Jorge’s wife, remembered him as a “tireless worker and noble human being.”

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Jorge is a part of an influential political family. He was a founding member of the Modern Revolutionary Party. In August 2020, as an attorney, he was appointed in the role of minister. 

His father, Salvador Jorge Blanco, was a former president of the Dominican Republic from 1982 to 1986, while his sister, Dilia Leticia, is a vice minister in Abinader’s administration. Jorge’s son is also a member of the Modern Revolutionary Party. The slain minister’s wife, Patricia Selma Villegas Garcia, is the Dominican Republic’s ambassador to Brazil.

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