Colombia has trained more than 13,000 soldiers from more than 40 countries since 2005, claimed the defense ministry in a press release Wednesday.
Security training has become a new “item of export for Colombia”, explained Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon.
Given the advancements in Colombia’s defense industry, “We have been working with [regional] governments… to make available to these countries the experience and skills acquired by Colombian security forces in the fight against drug trafficking, terrorism and other forms of organized crime,” said Pinzon.
Colombia’s armed forces have received significant resources over the past decade leading to a modernized military apparatus. Following his election in 2002, former president Alvaro Uribe implemented his “Democratic Security” policy, which invested billions of dollars into efforts to strengthen the armed forces.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos continued the trend on October 25 when he approved a $5.7 billion increase to the 2013 defense budget. Although the government is currently trying to broker a peace deal with FARC rebels, Santos justified the escalation saying, “Not for a single day or minute will we let our guard down against violent actors that threaten the life and work of the honest Colombian.”