In Britain, Colombia

Documents obtained by The Canary can reveal that the UK’s College of Policing has been training Colombian police over the past three years. This is despite Colombia being one of only 30 countries the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCD) lists as “Human rights priority countries”.

By John McEvoy

Published on The Canary, May 1, 2021
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Over recent days, the Colombian national police have killed a number of civilians protesting a proposedtax hike on basic goods. Many more civilians have been injured, and Colombia’s riot police reportedlysexually assaulted a woman.

Though numbers remain unclear, human rights group Isais Cifuentes de Cali has estimated up to 14 people have died.

Documents obtained by The Canary can reveal that the UK’s College of Policing has been training Colombian police over the past three years. This is despite Colombia being one of only 30 countries the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCD) lists as “Human rights priority countries”.

National strike

Colombia’s unpopular president Iván Duque has been rocked by a national strike. The strike is in response to proposed tax hikes on everyday items. According to a recent poll, his disapproval rating has fallen to 69% – the lowest level since he was first elected in 2018.

Characteristically, the Colombian police, a long-time recipient of US and British assistance, have responded with grim brutality.

In a particularly disturbing video, a police officer in Colombia’s third largest city, Cali, is seen shooting a protester as he runs away. The protester died later.

Some scenes were also grimly reminiscent of Augusto Pinochet’s Chilean regime, with the Colombian police using sports centres to detain strikers.

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