Colombia to Have 466,000 Soldiers and Police Officers in 2013

By Dialogo
October 30, 2012

The government of Colombia is set to increase its budget on security next year, to include 466,000 Soldiers and police officers, informed the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos on October 25.

Colombia’s budget for 2013, approved by the Congress a week ago, is considering spending US$ 5.770 billion to support these 466,000 security members, said the head of state in a message sent to a forum led by the Palm Oil Growers Federation.

“We shall not lower our guard before violent individuals that threaten our life and the honest work of the Colombian people for a single day or even a minute,” stated Santos.

The latest numbers on the composition of the Colombian Public Forces established a total of 431,900 members, including 221,496 Army members; 34,964 Navy members; 14,195 Air Force members; and 160,950 Police members.

The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are preparing for peace negotiations in Cuba in November that will be carried out without a cease fire on the ground.

At the official launch of the peace process, celebrated on October 18 in Oslo, Norway, the FARC representatives requested that the Colombian Military Forces significantly reduce their elements and budget, an issue that government negotiators said would not be on the negotiating table in the Cuban capital.

“If we can talk about peace now, if we can now start – with moderate optimism, to talk about peace, like we did last week in Oslo, it is because of the strength of our Public Forces,” Santos highlighted on October 25.

Colombia was the second country in the Union of South American Nations to invest most resources in the defense field within the 2006-2010 period, according to a report issued by that organization in May.

Out of the total US$ 126.110 billion that the 12 member countries of UNASUR invested in defense, 17% corresponded to Colombian expenses alone, only surpassed by Brazil with 43.7%.