At the time, the federal government hoped to professionalize and depoliticize the job by consolidating a fragmented system into a nationwide pressure, mentioned Juan Carlos Ruíz, a professor and safety professional at Colombia’s Universidad del Rosario.
By the 2000s, the police had change into a essential participant in a counterinsurgency technique geared toward rooting out the FARC, through which the navy cleared rebels from territory and the police held that floor. The technique labored, forcing the rebels to barter. And it earned the police “very high levels of citizen trust,” mentioned Paul Angelo, a fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations.
But for the reason that peace deal, little has modified throughout the police division.
Juan Manuel Santos, who was president when the deal was signed, had lengthy supported transferring the police out of the protection ministry. But the thought had been unpopular with the armed forces, partly as a result of the police deliver cash and manpower into the ministry, Mr. Angelo mentioned. By the time Mr. Santos had signed the peace deal, he had little time left in workplace, and even much less political capital. The change was by no means made.
Now, police reform advocates are once more pushing to maneuver the 140,000-officer pressure from the protection division into the inside ministry — and to prioritize human rights coaching, restrict weaponry, and take a look at officers who commit crimes in strange courts as an alternative of navy ones.
In an interview, the pinnacle of the nationwide police, Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, mentioned he had offered a reform plan to the nation earlier this yr. But the police shouldn’t be moved out of the protection ministry, he mentioned.
“The situation of drug trafficking and illegal groups at this time does not allow it,” he mentioned, calling these points “the main problem in Colombia.”
The protests started in late April, when Mr. Duque proposed a tax overhaul meant to assist shut a fiscal gap exacerbated by the pandemic. Already, the nation was on edge: After a yr of Covid-related restrictions, the outbreak was only getting worse, together with poverty, inequality and joblessness.