3.5
(8)

Dear sirs,

Your article on the Colombian police is very superficial and does not take into account the well documented history of the current drug war and the 50 year guerrilla conflict.

The Colombian police wear green uniforms because they are active in the jungle and rural areas fighting an insurgency permanently. These are not London bobbies. They rappel from Blackhawks at night to destroy drug labs and capture terrorists which are heavily armed. City police normally are distinguished by bright green jackets as in many other countries. They are considered by their peers as one of the best police forces in the world. That does not excuse any abuse or excessive use of power.

What is happening in Colombia is emotional exhaustion. After 50 years of conflict and a frustrated peace process which has created more conflict and death, we had the pandemic. Young people between 15 and 30 are without jobs, without schools or colleges and with very little food or money. Add to this an ongoing drug war which has penetrated the cities where police have to act daly against well armed crooks and drug dealers.

What Europe does not recognize is the asymmetric war being waged against Colombia by Venezuela and the well established guerrilla/ drug cartel in Caracas supported by Maduro’s regime.

Thanks to this, 2/3rds of the drugs exported from Colombia go to Europe and Russia, Middle East etc. and only 1/3 rd. Go to the US (see our conference on drugs in the Institute). This has created a no mans land on the frontier and in some sections of the cities. These police have seen the criminals released repeatedly after suffering casualties among their teams and a strong increase of urban guerrilla groups managing well planned infiltration of protests in order to create chaos.

Apparently no one in Europe reads their blogs or web pages. So of course these are not normal police and they need to be armed.

So what can be done to improve the situation in the police force and their relationship with the public? More than a reform what is needed is better training and better pay and more than anything else better selection of candidates for the force and more police per per persons. Civilian control of the police have not improved better operating results such as for example, in Mexico or the USA. These are extraordinary times which require extraordinary measures such as use of new technologies and better situational control under extreme circumstances.

Best regards,

Gabriel Echavarría Obregón
President Institute for Political Science
Colombia

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