Is there evidence of regular, active public debate on issues of defence? If yes, does the government participate in this debate?
6a. Public debate
Colombia score: 100/100
Outside government, there is no or extremely limited public debate among academia, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues.
Outside government, there is occasional public debate among academics, journalists, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues. Debate also addresses issues superficially, rather than persisting through in-depth and regular discussion.
Outside government, there is regular public debate among academics, journalists, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues. However, debate often addresses issues superficially, rather than persisting through in-depth and regular discussion.
Outside government, there is occasional public debate among academics, journalists, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues. However, when debate occurs, it addresses high priority issues with intensity and in-depth discussion.
Outside government, there is regular public debate among academics, journalists, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues. Debate persists on high priority issues over a period of time, rather than being superficially addressed.
There is regular public debate on advocacy issues amongst academics, journalists, opinion-makers and social organisations. After the signing of the Peace Agreement, discussions around the security and defence of the territory have focused on the issues of transformation and on new challenges presented by the Military Forces post-conflict. These concerns are reflected in various forums, seminars, and meetings held by public and private universities, and by renowned national newspapers. [1, 2, 3] The issues that are developed in these public fora are more focused on the publication of complaints around military actions that violate human rights, the tracking of public security and defence policy of the government of Iván Duque, and follow-up on investigations of illegal armed groups and the Colombian State in the development of military actions, among other issues related to post-conflict, including Peace Agreements and the guarantee of human rights. These often cite organisations such as the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, the Rainbow Foundation, the Ideas for Peace Foundation, CINEP, and Prodepaz Network. In the press we find the Empty Chair (La Silla Vacía), Public Reason (Razón Pública) and Open Truth (Verdad Abierta),  spaces that are open for debate, in which analyses are built through the collaboration of academics, social leaders, and other representatives of civil society. There are also television programmes from channels Red+ News and Noticias Canal UNO, which host a range of opinion programmes such as To The Point (Al Punto) and Free Zone (Zona Franca); and the Cable News Channel with programmes such as Live Week (Semana en Vivo).
1. Foros Semana. 2018. Seguridad y convivencia: el reto en las regiones [Security and coexistence: the challenge in the regions] 5 April. Accessed on: 10 April 2019. https://www.forossemana.com/evento/id/28300/seguridad_y_convivencia_el_reto_en_las_regiones.
2. Periódico El Espectador. 2018. Colombia 2020, Foro ¿cómo mejorar la seguridad y la convivencia en los territorios? [Colombia 2020, Forum: how to improve security and coexistence in the territories?] 16 April. Accessed on: 10 April 2019. https://colombia2020.elespectador.com/pais/foro-como-mejorar-la-seguridad-y-la-convivencia-en-los-territorios.
3. Universidad del Rosario. 2018. ¿Qué sector seguridad necesita Colombia? [What security sector does Colombia need?] 10 December. Accessed on: 10 April 2019. http://www.urosario.edu.co/Periodico-NovaEtVetera/Nuestra-U/Que-sector-seguridad-necesita-Colombia/.
4. Verdad Abierta. n.d. Verdad Abierta [Open truth]. Accessed on: 1 November 2019. https://verdadabierta.com/.
6b. Government engagement in public discourse
Colombia score: 50/100
There is no government engagement in public discourse about defence issues or official communications contain no meaningful information.
Where communication does occur, it is likely to be one-way: officials may provide some information but may not answer public questions.
The government engages in discussion with the public about defence issues through open forums, an active website, or at media briefings. However this does not happen regularly, or may exclude very important issues that the government chooses to avoid.
The government engages in regular discussion with the public about defence issues through open forums, an active website, or at media briefings.
The government engages in regular debate with academia, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues in collaborative ways. The government co-organises discussions with independent think tanks or civil society organisations, or through joint media briefings.
During the presidential term of Iván Duque, spaces for public debate have been promoted through the “Building country” workshops, whose objective is to establish a direct dialogue with the regions of Colombia, listening to their realities, and proposing solutions with public policies.  The workshops are held weekly every Saturday in a different municipality in the country, lasting more than 8 hours, and are transmitted through the Canal Institucional website. The workshops are attended by the President, ministers, governors, mayors, as well as members of the community action boards, unions, representatives of civil society, community leaders, and members of Congress from the region.  The workshops consist of listening, raising concerns, challenges, and solutions. There is a preparation process prior to the workshops, during which work is done with local actors in working groups on different issues, such as education, justice, health, infrastructure, and victims, among others. The members of each table discuss the problems and propose solutions in order to present them to the President, and are each given three minutes. At the end of the exhibition round, commitments are made, and a pact is signed in which the results of the workshop are collected. Although the workshops constitute a participatory process and direct dialogue with the Executive, some attendees find that the solutions are ignored, and that public officials participate for the sake of participation rather than to enact real change. Additionally, participation by non-organised groups is limited.  One of the central themes of these spaces for dialogue is legality, where the law is applied, and citizens feel protected. It also involves the application of justice and the restoration of trust in the State.  However, debate about the country’s defence and security policy is not present, and in most cases the issue of security/legality did not lead to any special commitment by the Ministry of Defence. The Minister of Defence’s statements regarding military operations have been characterised as confusing and weak, furthering controversy in the country as it calls into question the suitability of the Minister. However, the President of Colombia and the Parliamentarians belonging to the party in power have always supported the Minister, so acts of summons or subpoenas by Congress in the plenary session have not led to his dismissal. [4, 5] The lack of truthful and timely information on security matters is very serious, given the context of renewed violence in the territories.  Important safety issues are thus excluded in the public debate.
1. El Tiempo. 2018. “Duque comenzó los talleres ‘Construyendo País’.” [“Duque begins ‘Building Country’ Workshops.”] 11 August. Obtained from El Tiempo: https://www.eltiempo.com/politica/gobierno/ivan-duque-comenzo-talleres-construyendo-pais-en-girardot-254620.
2. Canal Institucional. 2018. “8 cosas que debes saber sobre el Taller Construyendo País.” [“8 Things You Should Know About the Building our Country Workshop.”] 10 August. Obtained from Canal Institucional TV: https://www.canalinstitucional.tv/noticias/ivan-duque-taller-construyendo-pais
3. Semana Rural. 2018. “Lo que no se ve en un taller ‘Construyendo País’ del presidente Duque.” [“What you do not see in President Duque’s ‘Building the Country’ Workshop.”] 10 October. Obtained from Semana Rural: https://semanarural.com/web/articulo/lo-que-no-se-ve-en-un-tallerconstruyendo-paisdel-presidente-duque/656
4. RED+ Noticias. 2019. “Análisis | ¿El gobierno logró desactivar las críticas alrededor de las FF. MM.?” [“Analysis | Has the government succeeded in difusing critics of the Military Forces?”] 9 July. Accessed on: 15 July 2019. http://www.redmas.com.co/colombia/analisis-gobierno-logro-desactivar-las-criticas-alrededor-las-ff-mm/.
5. Periódico el País. 2019. “El congreso de Colombia cierra filas con el ministro de Defensa y con las Fuerzas Armadas.” [“The Colombian Congress closes ranks with the Minister of Defence and the Armed Forces.”] 11 June. Accessed on: 15 July 2019. https://elpais.com/internacional/2019/06/11/colombia/1560212082_658008.html.
6. Macías, L. 2019. “EL FRACASO DE LA POLÍTICA DE SEGURIDAD DE DUQUE.” [“THE FAILURE OF DUQUE’S SECURITY POLICY.”] 3 July. Obtenido de Fundación Paz y Reconciliación: https://pares.com.co/2019/07/03/el-fracaso-de-la-politica-de-seguridad-de-duque/
Compare scores by country
Please view this page on a larger screen for the full stats.
|Country||6a. Public debate||6b. Government engagement in public discourse|
|Albania||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Algeria||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Angola||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Argentina||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Armenia||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Australia||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Azerbaijan||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Bahrain||25 / 100||0 / 100|
|Bangladesh||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Belgium||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Botswana||50 / 100||0 / 100|
|Brazil||75 / 100||25 / 100|
|Burkina Faso||50 / 100||0 / 100|
|Cameroon||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Canada||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Chile||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|China||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Colombia||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Cote d'Ivoire||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Denmark||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Egypt||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Estonia||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Finland||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|France||75 / 100||25 / 100|
|Germany||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Ghana||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|Greece||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Hungary||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|India||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Indonesia||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Iran||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Iraq||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Israel||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Italy||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Japan||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|Jordan||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Kenya||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Kosovo||75 / 100||25 / 100|
|Kuwait||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Latvia||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Lebanon||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Lithuania||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Malaysia||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Mali||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Mexico||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Montenegro||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|Morocco||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Myanmar||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Netherlands||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|New Zealand||75 / 100||100 / 100|
|Niger||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Nigeria||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|North Macedonia||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|Norway||75 / 100||100 / 100|
|Oman||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Palestine||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Philippines||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Poland||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Portugal||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Qatar||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Russia||100 / 100||25 / 100|
|Saudi Arabia||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Serbia||75 / 100||25 / 100|
|Singapore||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|South Africa||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|South Korea||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|South Sudan||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Spain||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Sudan||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Sweden||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|Switzerland||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Taiwan||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Tanzania||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Thailand||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Tunisia||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|Turkey||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|Uganda||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Ukraine||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|United Arab Emirates||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|United Kingdom||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|United States||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Venezuela||25 / 100||0 / 100|
|Zimbabwe||100 / 100||0 / 100|