Tim KorsoAll materialsWrite to the authorThe incident happened when the country’s police academy was engaging in a “cultural exchange” as a part of a broader policy to improve law enforcement’s image following the dispersal of anti-government protests earlier in 2021. Apparently, this goal will now require additional PR-disaster management.Colombian President Iván Duque had to come up with excuses on 20 November after members of the country’s Simón Bolívar Police Academy dressed up in the uniforms of Nazi Germany for a “cultural exchange” event. After photos of it made a fuss online, the president strongly condemned the police academy’s choice of festive garments.
"Any apology for Nazism is unacceptable and I condemn any demonstration that uses or refers to symbols referring to those responsible for the Jewish Holocaust that claimed the lives of more than 6 million people", the president said.
The president’s rebuke came after members of the Colombian police academy were spotted wearing Wehrmacht and SS uniforms, which also sported swastikas. One of the participants even flashed a moustache styled after the one of Adolf Hitler. The organisers also decorated the scene of the event with tablecloths featuring swastikas, as well as a very rough replica of a German WWII-era plane with Luftwaffe insignia.
To add to the PR disaster of the event, which was organised as a part of a broader effort at improving the police’s image, the academy posted images of it on social media, accompanying it with a caption:
"From the Simón Bolívar police academy in the city of Tulua, we are organising an international week with guest country Germany. With these cultural exchanges, we are strengthening the knowledge of our police students", the social media post said.
Columbia Professor Admits to Using Heroin Regularly for ‘Work-Life Balance’ – Report21 February, 03:31 GMTApart from taking flak from the online community, the German and Israeli embassies in Colombia, as well as the president, the academy also lost its chair, who was fired in the aftermath of the scandal. The country’s Defence Ministry, the police’s parent agency, also issued a statement assuring that law enforcement’s training guidelines in no way “envisage an activity such as the one which took place” during the scandalous event.