Colombia Conflict Defense Industry Latin America Middle East Security & Defense The Gulf
Podcast May 29, 2024

What makes Colombian mercenaries so interesting?

By Alia Brahimi

Coming up this Thursday, in Season 2, Episode 2 of the Guns for Hire podcast, host Alia Brahimi is joined by Dr. Andrés Macías, a Bogota-based expert on Colombian mercenaries. They begin by looking at the explosive case of 26 Colombians arrested for their part in the 2021 assassination of the Haitian president, as well as the public debate within Colombia. Andrés goes on to explain what makes former Colombian soldiers so interesting to the international private security market, the link back to the protracted armed conflict in Colombia and the recognized value of US training, as well as the need for the Colombian government to strengthen its veterans’ policy. They also discuss the thousands of Colombians who enlist under the banner of the United Arab Emirates and what’s driving hundreds of Colombians to sign up to fight Russia in Ukraine.

“What is the Colombian government doing with the huge number of veterans that we have had throughout the years? Because we actually don’t know much about what they are doing, what activities they are performing, and what their status is.”

Dr. Andrés Macías, Bogota-based expert on Colombian mercenaries

Find the Guns For Hire podcast on the app of your choice

About the podcast

Guns for Hire podcast is a production of the Atlantic Council’s North Africa Initiative. Taking Libya as its starting point, it explores the causes and implications of the growing use of mercenaries in armed conflict.

The podcast features guests from many walks of life, from ethicists and historians to former mercenary fighters. It seeks to understand what the normalization of contract warfare tells us about the world we currently live in, the future of the international system, and what war could look like in the coming decades.

Further reading

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.

Image: A Colombian soldier stands guard in a slum in Buenaventura June 28, 2007. Colombia's guerrilla war may have eased, but in Buenaventura's maze of rivers and wooden shacks, Marines are engaged in daily cat-and-mouse with rebels, militias and traffickers vying for control of drug smuggling from the jungle coastline. Picture taken on June 28. REUTERS/Pat Markey (COLOMBIA)