Colombia Offers Africa Security Advice

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Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they were willing to share strategies with Africa for fighting organized crime, as the region is now a primary bridge for cocaine heading to Europe.

Foreign Affairs Minister Maria Angela Holguin made the comments during a four-day seminar in Bogota on fighting drug trafficking in Colombia and West Africa. While Colombia’s top police officials were present, as well as US agents like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) director for its Andean field offices, the Ministry did not specify which representatives from African nations were present.

Holguin said that Colombia’s experience in strengthening its law enforcement institutions could provide a helpful case study for Africa. She added that Colombia is still struggling to fight terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime, but that the country could still provide useful advice and support for other nations facing the same problems. 

She did not specify whether this proposed cooperation would include training courses for the security forces in some African countries.·

InSight Crime Analysis

Colombia has provided plenty of military and police training for countries across the hemisphere, including Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. The US has consistently cited the fact that Colombia is now an “exporter” of its security model as evidence of that model’s success. Even still, similarly to Holguin’s admission, the State Department has said that Colombia’s security advances “are not irreversible.” 

Colombia’s offer to play an advisory role to Africa is another sign of just how important that continent has become for transnational drug traffickin groups. Last year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said that Africa is now a major transit area for cocaine being sent to Europe, and local African groups are playing an increasingly significant role in the business, displacing the South American traffickers. Brazil in particular has become an important bridge for cocaine exports headed to southern Africa

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