INKAS Armored Vehicles returns to the CANSEC arms show in Ottawa, May 31-June 1

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: Colombian police use what appears to be a Toronto-based INKAS-manufactured armoured vehicle to stop buses of delegates travelling to Cali for a popular assembly related to the national strike on July 17, 2021.

INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing will be at Booth 3108 at the CANSEC arms show being held at the EY Centre in Ottawa this coming May 31-June 1.

The Toronto-based company sold four Huron tactical attack and defense vehicles to the Colombian police in 2014.

The Export Controls Division at Global Affairs Canada has confirmed: “In 2014, 1 permit was issued to INKAS to export (4) armored transportation vehicles (controlled under ECL 2-6 and valued at — [note: the dollar amount was redacted] to the Colombian National Police for patrolling and intervention in intense guerilla areas.”

In April 2015, PLANT also 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.”

It’s unclear if that sale (that would have been in the range of $13 million) happened.

According to the Export Controls Division: “The vast majority of the more than $47 million in Canadian military exports to Colombia between 2012 and 2020 took place in 2014 when — exported 46 [General Dynamics Land Systems/GDLS] LAVs [Light Armoured Vehicles] to the Colombian Army through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) in [a] government to government contract.”

While the dollar figure from the Export Controls Division does not align, GDLS-Canada announced: in 2013 that: “The Colombian Ministry of National Defence has awarded a USD $65.3 million contract to General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada for 24 Light Armoured Vehicles for the Colombian Army.”

The Government of Canada report on the export of military goods also shows there was a significant export of category 2-6 (ground vehicles and components) to Colombia in 2020. We could surmise that these are components for the General Dynamics LAVs and/or for the INKAS Huron armoured vehicles.

INKAS armoured vehicle and the national strike

It appears that one of the INKAS armoured vehicles sold to Colombia was used by the police to impede activists travelling to Cali during the national strike.

On July 17, 2021, Alejandra Wilches tweeted: “The police detained different delegations heading to the National People’s Assembly in Cali!”

Digital media Kienyke also reported: “Caravans of cars and buses with dozens of people were stopped on different roads in the country because the National Police prevented entry to the department of Valle del Cauca.”

This tweet (with the armoured vehicle visible) further noted: “Several delegations from each city (Popayan, Bucaramanga, Bogota …) going to the Asemblea Nacional del Paro are detained by the police who prevent them from going there to Cali.”

And this 2-minute video (in Spanish) with the armoured vehicle visible in the background also helps to understand what happened.

This incident was noted by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly.

Clement Voule tweeted: “I am concerned about the application of the decree adopted by the Govt of Valle del Cauca which, despite its exceptions, is currently limiting the arrival of human rights defenders in Cali, restricting their right to peaceful assembly in Cali.”

Questions remain

Almost two years after the incident, questions still remain.

In response to our Access to Information (ATIP) request on the sale of these armoured vehicles to the Colombian national police, we received a 3-page document with two emails (dated October 14, 2021 and June 11, 2021) from an official with Export Controls Division sent to various other Global Affairs Canada officials.

The October 14, 2021 email states: “Officials from BGOTA [the Embassy of Canada in Colombia] asked the Colombian National Police (CNP) whether these armoured vehicles were being used in response to the social protests that began in late April. [Police] officials responded that no Canadian armoured vehicle was being used for such a purpose.”

That seems contradictory to the social media reports noted above.

Then following a redacted paragraph, the email says: “The vehicles are not being used by ESMAD (Escuadron Movil Antidisturbios or Mobile Anti-Disturbance Squadron) —”

This leaves questions about what information was redacted and the PLANT article that reported: “The [INKAS] Huron will be outfitted with a cannon to wrangle unruly rioters with foam, tear gas, dyes and water.”

Protest CANSEC, May 31

INKAS has previously exhibited at CANSEC (in 2017 and 2018) and will be there again this year.

 

For information on the popular mobilization being planned that will highlight the relationship between arms sales and human rights violations, please click here.

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