From July 19 to July 30, 2021, the William J. Perry Center carried out the third Analysis and Prevention of Urban Terrorism and other forms of Political Violence on behalf of the National Security Council of Colombia. This course was designed to respond to a request by the Colombian Presidency to strengthen the Interagency Terrorism Prevention Centers that have been established in 17 cities across the country. The course brought together personnel from 16 of those cities from the National Security Council, military, police, attorney general’s office, financial crimes investigation unit, regional secretaries of government, and prison administration. In all 83 civilians and military, males and females registered for the course. 70 received graduation certificates and 13 were granted observer certificates.
This course differed somewhat from the first two iterations in the sense that where the first two were done completely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this third course followed a hybrid model. The first week carried out online and the second week carried out in-person in Colombia. This was the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that the Perry Center has carried out an in-person course in the region.
The course was oriented towards the development of pragmatic and interagency solutions to terrorism and political violence. It consisted of theoretical presentations on terrorism and counterterrorism, case studies and tabletop exercises where the students were divided into teams and developed strategic plans to deal with several terrorism scenarios that reflect the realities of terrorism in the region today.
President Ivan Duque inaugurated the in-person phase of the course at the National Police Post Graduate School. He took advantage of the occasion to make a major policy speech calling for the United States to designate Venezuela as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. He also promised to take action against the FARC dissident front that carried out a car bomb attack against an Army brigade in Cucuta, as well as attempting to shoot down the Presidential helicopter as he visited the border area with Venezuela.
In addition to the President, the Minister of Interior Daniel Palacios Martínez, and Minister of Defense Diego Andres Molano made major policy speeches. Additional speakers included the United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg, National Security Adviser Rafael Guarin, and the director of the Perry Center, retired Lieutenant General Frederick S. Rudesheim. Other dignitaries that attended were the Colombian Joint Chiefs of Staff General Luis Fernando Navarro, and the director of Citizens Security Major General Carlos Ernesto Rodriguez.