– Colombian police students pretend to be Nazis in an official ceremony
The ‘international week’ at the Simon Bolivar Police School was intended as a ‘cultural exchange’ with Germany. But their ambitions got it wrong when they chose the outfit and they are now getting angry on all sides.
In Colombia, police cadets dressed in SS uniforms and displaying Nazi symbols marking their “cultural exchange” with Germany sparked outrage. About a dozen photos of the celebration of the police school in Toloa, southwest Colombia, were posted on the official police Twitter account, causing the authorities to struggle for clarification. The German and Israeli embassies in Bogota condemned this disregard for Nazi rule, and Colombian head of state Ivan Duque publicly apologized.
The photographs show police cadets in Wehrmacht uniforms and the SS with swastikas. One of the men even has a small Hitler beard. Two policemen in Nazi uniforms stand in front of a papier-mâché castle backdrop, while a third positions himself with a German shepherd at his feet. Other police cadets wear T-shirts with the German word “Polizei” on them.
In the hall where the celebration took place, there are flags of the Federal Republic of Germany and balloons in the national colors of black, red and gold, but also copies of a historical Luftwaffe aircraft and imitations of weapons used by the Nazis. Tablecloths with a swastika can also be seen in the photos.
Head of State Duque: “Any apology from the Nazis is unacceptable”
The Simon Bolivar Police School in Toloa is organizing an “international week with Germany as the host country”, the police commented on the strange procedure on the online Twitter service. “Through this cultural exchange, we encourage the knowledge of our police cadets.” The famous phrase “#It’s a great honor to be a police officer” can also be read on the Twitter account.
The supposed cultural exchange has been met with bewilderment on the Internet. Colombia’s President Duque felt compelled to comment. “Any apology for Nazism is unacceptable,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday. And he condemned any offer or allusion to “symbols that refer or allude to those responsible for the Jewish Holocaust, which claimed the lives of more than six million people.”
The police dismissed the head of the police school for this kind of “pedagogical activity in public history.” The Ministry of Defense, which is responsible for the police in Colombia, emphasized that the event was in no way in line with the political guidelines for the training of security forces.
The photo campaign aims to promote intense communication on social media
In a joint declaration, the German and Israeli embassies in Bogota expressed their “total rejection of any form of belittling or demonstrating National Socialism.”
The reputation of the Colombian police was badly damaged in the spring when they violently suppressed protests against the government. That is why she is currently running a photo campaign that involves extensive communications in the Internet. It is also expected that Colombian police officers will get a new uniform soon.