The security situation in Colombia is one of the most important topics especially with the ongoing armed conflict with leftist rebel groups and neo-paramilitary groups, and ongoing crime in the country’s urban centers.
Colombia continues to be one of the most dangerous countries in South America. The armed conflict with leftist rebel groups has torn apart social cohesion and degraded the legitimacy of security forces over numerous human rights abuses.
Aggravating the problem is the high rate of impunity. The Colombian justice system is inundated with cases and does not have the infrastructure of personal to alleviate the problem.
Juan Manuel Santos (U Party — Partido de la U)
Incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos has an extensive security proposal that builds on the work done in his first term.
Santos’s security proposal focuses on increasing the number of police units.
Santos proposes the following to improve security in Colombia:
- Create seven elite police units to address top five crimes which are cell phone robberies, extortion, trafficking, contraband smuggling, and illegal mining.
- Facilitate cooperation between the Prosecutor General’s office and the judicial branch.
- Train 25,000 more police.
- Create a Ministry of Citizen Security to be dedicated solely to crime prevention, taking the best lessons learned around the world.
- Train mobile police units.
- Create 15 new metropolitan police units around the nation’s cities.
Clara Lopez (Democratic Pole — Polo Democratico)
The socialist candidate, Clara Lopez has a security proposal that is a complete restructuring of the police and the armed forces. Both the police and military are very powerful and secretive institutions in Colombia’s government.
Lopez’s security proposal focus on envisioning a post-conflict Colombia.
Lopez wants a restructuring of the military to prevent state sanctioned executions, known as false positives and the illegal spying by intelligence agencies.
The leftist candidate hopes that by making the police a non-military force. The police will not be involved in the civil war and will instead work on crime prevention campaigns and promoting a peaceful culture of disarmament.
Clara Lopez proposes the following for security:
- Separate Police from the Ministry of Defense to make it a a citizen’s institution and not a military one.
- Create a Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation.
- Rewrite police code to focus on prevention and more citizen integration.
- Restructuring of Military.
- Create a Plan of Humanitarian Assistance for 200 municipalities most affected by the civil war.
Oscar Ivan Zuluaga (Democratic Center — Centro Democratico)
Oscar Ivan Zuluaga would like to bring back the security policies of former President Alvaro Uribe. Alvaro Uribe was reknown for his policy known as “Seguridad Democratica” or democratic security.
The policy of democratic security is centered around the cooperation of citizen informants and security forces. Democratic Security promotes desertion from armed groups, rewards for information, and military success dependent on citizen cooperation.
Zuluaga proposes the following for his security policy:
- Increase pay for police and soldiers.
- Expand the war on drugs
- Invest in security camaras in urban centers.
- Build court houses in the urban neighborhoods with the most crime.
- Create Committees of Security and offer rewards for information on crime.
- More prisons with oversight.
Enrique Peñalosa (Green Alliance — Alianza Verde)
Green Party candidate, Enrique Peñalosa, has a vague security agenda. What he proposes focuses on judicial reform to increase the security situation in Colombia. Currently 95% of homicides in Colombia go unpunished.
Along with his judicial reforms, Peñalosa would also like to prioritize the fight against corruption to curb crime.
Peñalosa’s security proposals promote family and culture as the primary method of crime prevention.
Enrique Peñalosa proposes the following for security:
- Expand cultural activities around the country to keep youth from crime.
- Combat homicides.
- Take away the Inspector General’s ability to sanction.
- Reform the judicial brand, which is the “most deteriorated and least legitimate institution in the Colombian government.” Includes the reform of how court magistrates are appointed and expanding access to the court system.
Marta Lucia Ramirez (Conservative Party — Partido Conservador)
Marta Lucia Ramirez will also bring back former President Uribe’s policy of Democratic Security if elected president. Ramirez was Minister of Defense during Uribe’s presidency when the Democratic Security policy was designed.
The conservative’s security agenda focuses on combating corruption within security forces and providing security in rural areas.
Ramirez proposes the following the following for security:
- Develop Gendarmerie units to serve as military police in rural areas.
- Have daily security meetings with each state.
- Strengthen internal affair units in security agencies.
- Invest in more security cameras.
- Enhance cooperation between the Prosecutor General’s office and the Ministry of Defense so that both can be more effective.
- Clara Lopez (Campaign Website)
- Enrique Peñalosa (Campaign Website)
- Juan Manuel Santos (Campaign Website)
- Martha Lucia Ramirez (Campaign Website)
- Oscar Ivan Zuluaga (Campaign Website)
- Más Allá De Los Escándalos, Esto Proponen Los Candidatos (La Silla Vacia)
- Y… ¿Qué proponen los candidatos a la Presidencia? (El Tiempo)