How are Canadian-made armoured personnel carriers sold to the Colombian police being used during the national strike?

Published by Brent Patterson on

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This El Parche Crítico video shows a Colombian police truck firing a water cannon at a protest at the Portal Americas humanitarian space last night.

Prior to this, Campaña Defender la libertad has highlighted: “There is a strong presence of tanks [in the Portal Americas humanitarian space], which make indiscriminate use of tear gas and ammunition of an unknown type in the area.”

Though likely a different model to the one seen in the video, Canada sold Armoured Personnel Carriers to the Colombian national police with similar capabilities.

In April 2015, PLANT reported: “The manufacturer is still building behemoth armoured personnel carriers (APCs). In fact, there’s a tendered order for 26 of its Huron vehicles, at about $450,000 a pop, for the National Police of Columbia.”

That article adds: “The Huron … will be outfitted with a cannon to wrangle unruly rioters with foam, tear gas, dyes and water.”

Yesterday, the United Church of Canada stated: “Canada’s sale of light armoured vehicles and armoured personnel vehicles to Colombia regardless of their intended use is deeply concerning.”

Earlier this week, the Canadian Labour Congress also stated: “Canadian unions condemn this violence and support the legitimate demands of the Colombian people for: The demilitarization of the urban areas and cities; The dismantling of the Colombian national police riot control unit (known by its Spanish acronym ESMAD).”

The Portal Americas humanitarian space

The humanitarian space is located at a TransMilenio station, a bus rapid transit (BRT) system. The Portal de Las Américas station is in the southwestern part of the city in the locality of Kennedy, which is mostly inhabited by working and low-income residents.

PBI-Colombia has previously noted it’s “where youth and grassroots organizations in the area have created a humanitarian space for participation in the social protests.”

PBI-Colombia has also reported on its accompaniment of the Justice and Peace Commission in the humanitarian space on May 6, 11, 12 and 13.

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