The so-called Democracy Plan, a police and military operation aimed at ensuring the smooth progress of the regional elections scheduled for October 29 in Colombia, has been in progress for several weeks. The deployment of law enforcement forces is readily apparent nationwide, with particular focus on regions where various illegal armed groups could potentially disrupt the electoral proceedings.
A total of 70,000 personnel, including both soldiers and police officers, are involved in this operation. The Army is overseeing and collaborating with various institutions engaged in the electoral process through the Integrated Center for Information and Electoral Intelligence. This center is responsible for coordinating the efforts of intelligence agencies, with the support of the Presidential Office for Digital Transformation and the Presidential Office for National Security, in coordination with the National Civil Registry and the National Electoral Council.
Ensuring a Smooth Election
In accordance with Colombian tradition, on the election day of October 29, a substantial presence of law enforcement personnel, encompassing both police and military, will be spread across the nation. In conjunction with this extensive operation, which has been in action for several weeks to ensure the electoral process proceeds without disruptions, there will be a temporary ban on the sale of alcohol during the weekend of October 28 and 29.
To date, the police have received and acted upon 211 reports of electoral crimes. According to public records, the regions with the highest number of reported incidents are the Atlantic coast, central regions, and border areas.
National and International Oversight
The election day will be monitored by both national and international observers. Electoral observation is a civic undertaking that ensures the transparency of the democratic process, with individuals overseeing the electoral proceedings to ensure they adhere to democratic and legal standards.
National observers are organized under the auspices of the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE). In the meantime, international delegates are appointed by organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the European Union.
Cauca, the Region of Greatest Concern
One of the areas at the highest risk for election day is the department of Cauca. The proliferation of various illegal armed groups complicates the smooth conduct and transparency of regional elections, which will determine the mayors and departmental governors.
The most precarious situation is unfolding in the municipality of Argelia, situated in the southern part of the region, particularly in the El Plateado district. According to military intelligence, “new guards” have emerged, expressing their intention to assume surveillance of the election day next weekend. These groups are not affiliated with the security forces and are in violation of electoral law.
Federico Mejía, the commander in Cauca, noted that a similar situation may be unfolding in areas like Balboa and El Patía. “These are municipalities with high operational complexity, especially due to the pronounced presence of illegal structures. However, we will enter these areas to observe how the electoral system functions,” explained the commander.
For Sunday’s election day, a deployment of 6,000 personnel is planned in the department, with 2,000 soldiers ensuring mobility on regional roads and the other 4,000 providing security and assistance to citizens at polling stations.