Tuluá: A “pedagogical” event by the Colombian police ends with swastikas and Nazi uniforms | International

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Colombian police during an activity at the Simón Bolívar Police School, located in Tuluá, Valle del Cauca, recreated scenes alluding to the period of Nazi Germany.
Colombian police during an activity at the Simón Bolívar Police School, located in Tuluá, Valle del Cauca, recreated scenes alluding to the period of Nazi Germany.RS

A new scandal, with diplomatic scope, shakes the Colombian security forces. At an event at a police school in the department of Valle del Cauca, in the southwest of the country, the uniformed officers exalted Nazi Germany on Thursday, with swastikas, uniforms and iconography, in images that have flooded social networks in the middle from a barrage of criticism. In the photos published briefly by the National Police itself, there is even a person disguised as Adolf Hitler. The government of Iván Duque, starting with the president himself, has condemned the event without nuances.

The German and Israeli embassies in Bogotá were quick to express their “total rejection of any show of apology for Nazism,” in a joint statement. “Events like this are outrageous and directly offend not only Jews, but also all victims of the Nazi regime and its criminals,” said diplomatic delegations, who called on the Government of Colombia to “reinforce pedagogy in official institutions and the educational system on the Holocaust ”. They also took the opportunity to request that Bogotá join the International Holocaust Commemoration Alliance.

The Colombian National Police during an activity at the Simón Bolívar Police School in Tuluá recreated scenes alluding to the period of Nazi Germany.
The Colombian National Police during an activity at the Simón Bolívar Police School in Tuluá recreated scenes alluding to the period of Nazi Germany.RS

The National Police explained that the unfortunate ceremony at the Simón Bolívar Police School in Tuluá was part of a pedagogical activity on universal history within the framework of the “Internationalization Week”, with Germany as a sort of guest country, although without any contact with the Embassy in Bogotá. “These are facts that go against the institutional policy of absolute respect for human rights,” declared General Yackeline Navarro Ordóñez, national director of police schools, in a message in video released Thursday night. The institution immediately dismissed the director of the Simón Bolívar school, in addition to offering public excuses to the Jewish community and to all those offended by the “use of Nazi emblems and the caricature of the police uniform”, which it described as “unacceptable”. However, the controversy has not stopped. “No explanation is enough”, reacted declaring himself “shocked and deeply disappointed” by Philip Goldberg, the United States ambassador, Bogotá’s closest ally in security matters.

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“Any apology to Nazism is unacceptable and I condemn any manifestation that makes use or reference to symbols alluding to those who were responsible for the Jewish holocaust that claimed the lives of more than six million people,” President Iván Duque said on his social networks this Friday . “Anti-Semitism has no place in the world,” added the president, who arrived last week from an international tour that included Israel, a country with which his Executive has sought to seal a close alliance. Precisely during that trip, Defense Minister Diego Molano unleashed another diplomatic controversy by pointing to Iran, a country with which Bogotá has had relations since 1975, as an “enemy”, in statements that Duque had to rectify. The Foreign Ministry joined the police apologies to the Jewish community for what it described as an “unfortunate and incomprehensible” activity.

Images from social networks of the Colombian National Police show the activity at the Simón Bolívar Police School in Tuluá, where they used Nazi uniforms and symbols.
Images from social networks of the Colombian National Police show the activity at the Simón Bolívar Police School in Tuluá, where they used Nazi uniforms and symbols.RS

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Parallel to attempts to settle the Nazi emblem controversy, several observers have recalled another recent controversy. Despite the fact that in his country he has been singled out as a neo-Nazi, the Chilean entomologist Alexis López has been invited to lecture the Colombian military. “In the military school all defense theories are studied, all security theories,” Minister Molano defended last May by justifying in “academic freedom” the invitation for López to speak to the cadets. In the midst of the massive demonstrations against the Government of that time, former President Álvaro Uribe, founder of the Democratic Center, the party of Duque and Molano, also appealed to the concept of the “dissipated molecular revolution”, promoted precisely by Alexis López.

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Both the Colombian military and police have been surrounded by controversy during the Duque Administration, amid a climate of deteriorating security that includes the incessant assassination of social leaders, environmentalists and former FARC combatants who signed a peace agreement ago. five years, as well as the increase in massacres and repeated episodes of police brutality, many amid waves of protests against the Government. A long chain of scandals that has affected the image of the uniformed includes the ghost of the return of extrajudicial executions of civilians, the espionage of political opponents and journalists or the rape of indigenous girls by the military, which has provoked various questions with relation to the training and doctrine of the Colombian security forces.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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