Breaking News
Black Friday SALE: Up to 54% off InvestingPro! Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Why were Colombian ex-soldiers in Haiti? Experts say they are popular mercenaries

WorldJul 09, 2021 08:56PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
3/3 © Reuters. Colombia's National Police Director General Jorge Luis Vargas flanked by Commander of the Colombian Military Forces, General Luis Fernando Navarro, speaks during a news conference about the participation of several Colombians in the assassination of Haiti 2/3

By Luis Jaime Acosta and Julia Symmes Cobb

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Highly-trained Colombian soldiers left at a loose end after retirement have frequently been tempted by opportunities to ply their trade abroad as private military contractors from Iraq to Yemen, military officials and experts said on Friday.

At least 17 ex-members of Colombia's military are among the suspects in this week's assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/colombian-suspects-haiti-presidents-killing-arrived-via-dominican-republic-2021-07-09, who was shot early on Wednesday at his home by what officials said was a group of foreign mercenaries.

The assassination has pitched Haiti deeper into political turmoil amid widespread gang violence. The motive for the killing - and its intellectual authors - remain unknown.

But for those want to hire mercenaries, Colombia is a popular choice. The South American country's nearly 60 years of internal conflict have provided a prolific training ground for soldiers.

For those trained as part of elite counter-terrorism units, retirement can come as early as their 40s, leaving many with only modest pensions and little idea what to do next.

"The recruitment of Colombian soldiers to go to other parts of the world as mercenaries is an issue that has existed for a long time, because there is no law that prohibits it," armed forces commander General Luis Fernando Navarro told journalists.

"There are a significant number of Colombian soldiers in Dubai, for example."

The United Arab Emirates has been an important client of Colombian ex-soldiers, dispatching them to fight Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, alongside fighters from Panama, El Salvador and Chile, according to Sean McFate, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council thinktank and professor at Georgetown and the National Defense University.

Latin Americans charge a fraction of what U.S. or British ex-soldiers do, even when they are earning up to four times their old military salaries, McFate wrote in a 2019 report.

Navarro said that retiring soldiers were given the chance to take classes with Colombia's technical college system but the military does not keep tabs on retirees.

Colombians are often recruited as mercenaries "because of all their experience," army head General Eduardo Zapateiro told Reuters.

"It's a shame because we train them for other things," he said.

Colombian soldiers with experience in counter-insurgency and urban anti-terrorism or who have received training in countries like the United States and Israel are generally those targeted for recruitment, a military source told Reuters.

All young Colombian men are required to spend at least a year doing military or police national service, though those attending university and able to pay a fee are excused.

Staying on to become full-time soldiers may be one of the few formal jobs available to those from poor backgrounds, especially in rural areas hit hard by the conflict.

The work pays little, is dangerous, and involves being away from loved ones, as well as confronting mistrust of the armed forces in places where soldiers have been accused and sometimes convicted of human rights violations.

McFate said that, while U.S. firms like Blackwater remain the best-known private military contractors, scores of ex-fighters from other countries were now imitating U.S. providers.

"Every day new private military groups emerge from countries like Russia, Uganda, Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia. Their services are more robust than Blackwater, offering greater combat power and the willingness to work for the highest bidder with scant regard for human rights," McFate wrote in the report.

"They are mercenary in every sense of the word."

Why were Colombian ex-soldiers in Haiti? Experts say they are popular mercenaries
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Bellamy Fernades
Bellamy Fernades Jul 09, 2021 11:39PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
just don't care to know what is this all about
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email