December 3, 2022


High-risk Colombians say GPS devices only add to dangers

The impenetrable vehicles that Colombia’s administration allocates to many high-risk people should make them more secure. Yet, when an insightful correspondent found they all had GPS trackers, she just felt more powerless — and insulted.

Nobody had informed Claudia Julieta Duque — or evidently any of the 3,700 or more writers, privileges activists and work and native pioneers who utilize the vehicles — that the gadgets were keeping steady tabs on their whereabouts. For Duque’s situation, it occurred as frequently as like clockwork. The framework could likewise somewhat remove the SUV’s motor.

Colombia is among the world’s most risky nations for basic liberties safeguards — with more than 500 killed starting around 2016. It is likewise a nation where traditional fanatics have a history of penetrating public safety bodies. For Duque, the GPS disclosure was chilling: Movements of individuals as of now in danger of political death were being followed innovation that troublemakers could weaponize against them.”It’s something very obtrusive,” said Duque, who has been a relentless objective of rebel security specialists. “Furthermore, the state doesn’t appear to mind.”

The public authority organization capable has said the trackers were introduced to assist with forestalling burglary, to follow the guardians who frequently drive the vehicles and to help answer hazardous situations.For 10 years, Colombia had been introducing trackers in the heavily clad vehicles of in danger people as well as VIPs, including presidents, government priests and legislators. The organization’s chief made that divulgence after Duque learned last year through an openly available reports demand that the framework was recording her SUV’s area a normal of multiple times 60 minutes.

The chief excused protection concerns and referred to the training as “basic” to ensuring security.

Taking into account the tracker a threat to her and her sources, Duque squeezed for subtleties on its definite highlights. Be that as it may, the National Protection Unit, known as UNP in Spanish, offered close to nothing. She then requested the organization eliminate the gadget. It declined. So in February, Duque returned the vehicle, left the nation and documented a legitimate test.

Presently back in Bogotá, she is expecting fulfillment when Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s most memorable radical president, takes office Aug. 7.

Petro’s homegrown security change group didn’t answer inquiries from The Associated Press regarding this situation.

Anything activity the new organization takes will ponder its declared obligation to common liberties and its capacity to change a public safety foundation long show to harsh political enemies.

The UNP is a mainstay of that foundation. It utilizes, for the most part as protectors, many ex-specialists of the shamed DAS homegrown security organization, which was broken down in 2011 after the public authority of previous President Alvaro Uribe mishandled it to keep an eye on Supreme Court judges, columnists and political rivals.

Noticeable among them were Petro himself – and Duque.

She was surveilled, undermined and harassed by DAS agents subsequent to revealing proof that the 1999 death of dearest comedian and harmony lobbyist Jaime Garzon was a wrongdoing of the state. Duque’s revealing in the long run helped convict a previous DAS representative chief in the killing, and three other ex-DAS authorities have been sentenced for mental torment for compromising the existences of Duque and her daughter.Trials against eight others are forthcoming. Through everything, dangers constrained her into impermanent exile almost multiple times.

The inquiries regarding the GPS gadgets added to developing worries about an office that once positioned among Latin America’s best in basic liberties security. Adam Isacson, an investigator with the Washington Office on Latin America, said the UNP turned out to be less responsive, more politicized and more entered by guiltiness under the active moderate government.

“With social pioneers being killed essentially every other day during the beyond four years, this was the most awful time for the unit to fall into confusion,” he said. Traditional passing crew action spiked following a memorable 2016 harmony settlement with radical dissidents.

Duque says she was tipped to the GPS trackers in mid 2020 when she learned of an arranged endeavor on her life, yet when she got some information about them, the public authority stalled for a year.

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