U.S., European and Canadian companies expected at Expodefensa 2021 in Bogota

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Canada presents at Expodefensa in Bogota on December 1, 2015.

On October 7, the International Observation Mission for the Guarantees of Social Protest and Against Impunity in Colombia released its final report.

Participants in this Mission included Peace Brigades International-Canada Board member Heather Neun and Bernadette Perrón and Nathan Brullemans de Brouwer, members of the Quebec-based Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie (PASC).

Notably, the Mission’s recommendations to the International Community include:

4.1. The European Union is required to suspend the sale of military weapons and riot control equipment under criterion 2 of the EU Code of Conduct on arms export. To the United States, and to any country that provides military weapons or riot gear, you are required to suspend sales commercial or donations of such weapons to ESMAD.

This past May, representatives from the PBI-Colombia accompanied organization CREDHOS also told Canadian officials:

“The military and the police are interfering with peaceful social protest. The army is patrolling different urban areas of the cities. We are calling on the international community to ensure that logistical or financial support to the police and national army is stopped because right now they are attacking the people and we don’t want that to continue.”

One of the places that weapons are sold to Colombia is at Expodefensa 2021 that is taking place in Bogota from November 29 to December 1.

This article on the Expodefensa 2021 website notes: “Despite relative interstate stability in the region, countries need security and defence solutions and equipment to maintain or restore border safety, prevent, and combat natural and industrial disasters and protect centres for exploitation of energy resources and mine sites.”

And this media release notes that companies from France, Spain and the USA will be present in national pavilions. It also notes that General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) will be present. GDLS has a plant in London, Ontario and manufacture light armoured vehicles.

Exhibitors at Expodefensa 2019 included: Honeywell (USA), Lockheed Martin (USA) and Raytheon (USA) as well as numerous companies from Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Canada.

That year, 75 official delegations, 251 exhibitors and 13,000 participants gathered for this arms show in Bogota.

In 2014, the Canadian Embassy in Colombia tweeted: “Do not forget to visit the commercial exhibition at #Expodefensa where you can learn about Canada’s innovation for security and defense.” And in 2015 it tweeted: “Canada joins @mindefensa at #ExpoDefensa, the ideal forum to continue upgrading the defence and security sector in Colombia.”

And in 2017, the Colombian Ministry of National Defence tweeted: “At #ExpoDefensa #ViceDefensa @martinezcuellar meets with delegation of #Canadá with a view to strengthening relations between the two countries in matters of security and defence.”

Expodefensa 2021 takes place not long before the CANSEC 2022 on June 1-2 in Ottawa. This arms show is expected to draw 55 international delegations and 306 exhibitors.

In May 2014, the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a federal government owned Crown corporation, stated it toured the exhibition floor at CANSEC arms show in Ottawa with a delegation from Colombia. That was also the year that Canada sold 24 Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to the Colombian Army and at least 4 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) to the National Police of Colombia.

As we seek to follow-up on the recommendations of the International Observation Mission, we are looking into the implications of arms fairs such as Expodefensa 2021 in Bogota and CANSEC 2022 in Ottawa.

Photo from Expodefensa 2019.

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