By Ariel Ávila, SEMANA, May 14, 2020

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The impression that remains is that a large part of the government doesn’t control anything, and doesn’t govern anything and they don’t seem to care.

In recent days we discovered at least three huge scandals that the Colombian Armed Forces are wrapped up in: The first one is the profiling, stalking, and illegal wiretapping of at least 130 individuals.  The response by the Defense Ministry and the authorities is, simply, disconcerting. They claim it was actions by individuals and high officials knew nothing about it. The obvious conclusion is that if they didn’t know, that demonstrates that there problems of command and control and, above all, that any political sector is would be able to infiltrate the organization of the Armed Forces and use them for their own benefit. That being the case, claiming that the highest officials had no knowledge of it, shows a weak organizational structure. The other option, that they did know, is even more complicated.

The second scandal results from a frustrated military plan or, also what’s called Operation Commando, which was planned, apparently with the complicity of the Venezuelan opposition and a group of mercenaries that planned to kidnap Nicolás Maduro and some of the people close to him. The description of the operation is simply ridiculous and sounds as it was made for a comic strip. However, three things make this complicated. First of all, the name of Clíver Alcalá, which came up a few weeks ago, after the capture of a shipment of weapons. Secondly, a supposed training base for mercenaries in the Province of La Guajira, and finally, the participation of people close to Guaidó in this tangle.

Once again the Minister of Defense said he knew nothing about the operation or about the supposed training base for mercenaries. What’s complicated about that is that when Carlos Holmes Trujillo was Foreign Minister he went around all over with Guaidó’s delegates. He was even asked if he was giving the Colombian government’s sensitive information to Guaidó’s representatives. Now, with this alleged lack of knowledge about the operation, Colombia looks ridiculous. That’s to say, mercenaries are using Colombian territory, transiting weapons, paying for weapons training, and the authorities aren’t aware of it. I don’t know what our security policy is.

The third and most ridiculous things were the armored motorboats, which, allegedly, were carelessly tied up and ended up on the Venezuelan side. There were two armored Boston Whaler boats and one administrative river boat. Believing this version gets complicated. For example, nobody unties a campesino’s flying fish or launch and takes it downriver. Least of all an armored launch which you don’t tie up with an old rope tied to a stick. I don’t believe they tie them up with an old rope that’s about to break. However, this was the version we got from the Colombian authorities.

Profiling and stalking the opposition and the journalists, supposed mercenary bases and armored motorboats tied up carelessly. That’s been the week for the security authorities in this country. There hasn’t been an explanation for any of those three events that has left the victims, the journalists, or the analysts satisfied. Neither have they made some of the circumstances clear, but, most importantly, up to now it hasn’t been made clear which political sectors are using the security apparatus of the Colombian government inappropriately or illegally.

For example, what they call the Venezuelan opposition moves around this country like a fish in the water. They meet in hotels, they plan every kind of action against Maduro and take part in meetings with Colombian authorities where they spread information that’s crucial for this country. That doesn’t seem to matter to the Colombian government, which has acted like a real buffoon in front of all of these events.  In addition, I’ll give an example here, the Duque government adopted a strategy of acting like a victim of the profiling that was done by military intelligence, but it has taken very few measures to keep that from happening again. It’s as if they don’t care or, at least as if they want us to think they don’t care.

The impression that remains is that a big part of the government doesn’t control anything, they don’t govern anything, and as if they literally don’t care a bit. Even though there is also the possibility that they just aren’t admitting their participation in some of these activities.

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