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Colombia protests: police forces built for war, find new forces

At the time, the government hoped to provide professionalism and disgrace the work by integrating fragmented systems into national forces, said Juan Carlos Ruíz, professor and security expert at Colombia’s Universidad del Rosario.

In the 2000s, police became a key player in counterinsurgency tactics aimed at eliminating the FARC, where the soldiers cleared rebels from the territory and the police seized the area. The strategy has forced the rebels to negotiate. And the police have received “a very high level of civil trust,” said Paul Angelo, a fellow council of foreign relations.

But because of the peace deal, little has changed within the police department.

Juan Manuel Santos, who was longtime president when an agreement was signed in support of the removal of police from the defense ministry. But the idea was not popular with the military, in part because the police brought money and manpower into the ministry, Mr Angelo said. By the time Mr Santos signed the peace agreement, he had little time left to hold office and less political capital. The change never happened.

Supporters of police reform are now pushing again to move 140,000 officers from the Department of Defense to the Ministry of the Interior and prioritize human rights training, limit the use of weapons and test offenders in the offense. Ordinary courts instead of soldiers

In an interview with Maj. National Police Chief George Louis Vargas said he presented a plan for reforming the country earlier this year. But police should not be moved from the Department of Defense, he said.

“The current situation of drug trafficking and illicit groups is unfavorable,” he said, calling them “the main problem in Colombia”.

The protests began in late April when Duque proposed a tax overhaul to help close a serious fiscal loophole from the outbreak. The country is on the edge: After a year of restrictions related to COVID, the epidemic has worsened with poverty, inequality and unemployment.

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