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Peruvian minister resigns amid brothel scandal

Peru's agriculture minister resigned on Monday, after a local TV network aired a report that showed his two sons operating a clandestine brothel with underage prostitutes.

Life is not good for Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo. Last month, a mad crow wounded to death a major of a southern town; his popularity is still under ten per cent; this moth Shining Path, the notorious Maoist guerrilla group active until 1990, attacked a military station in the Andes mountains. And now, Toledo's agriculture minister, Jose Leon, had to resign on Monday night, a day after a news show reported that his son owns a provincial hotel that was operating as a clandestine brothel with underage prostitutes. Too much for just one person…

"I have decided to present my resignation," Agriculture Minister Jose Leon told reporters at Government Palace. Leon said he decided to step down to relieve unpopular President Alejandro Toledo's struggling administration from further scandal.

Toledo began his five-year term in July 2001 with an approval rating of nearly 60 percent, but his popularity plummeted amid charges that he failed to deliver on promises to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. However, Toledo managed to dilapidate his popularity in a few months, as recent polls show: his approval rating is now around 8 percent.

Leon had came under criticism Monday after the Sunday night news show "Cuarto Poder" on Channel 4 reported that the minister's 25-year-old son owned and operated the hotel outside of Trujillo, a coastal city 500 kilometers (310 miles) northwest of Lima.
Leon blamed the alleged prostitution on hotel employees he said were permitting it behind his son's back. "They just told me that they fired those bad employees at the hotel," Leon said in his resignation announcement, adding that he planned to clear his family's name.

No matter what happens with Leon, one thing is certain: Toledo should be more careful at choosing his ministers.