(June 22, 2001) – IT HAS BEEN revealed that four subsidiaries of Vector Aerospace, based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, are fixing helicopters for the Colombian military. They are repairing engines, components and auxiliary power units under a $6.5 million contract. The company has no military export permit from the government. Because of the Colombian armed forces’ long-standing involvement in gross human rights violations, Vector’s activity has attracted considerable attention.
When asked why no military export permit was issued, David Kilgour, Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa), stated the firm was working only on civilian aircraft. But Vector CEO Mark Dobbin soon confirmed, “We’re working on both civilian and military aircraft.”
Kilgour then defended himself by claiming that when questioned his understanding had been as he had stated. When asked about the government’s view of a Canadian company working for the Colombian military, he replied: “I think it’s appropriate for a democratically elected government to protect themselves.” The so-called democratically elected government Kilgour is referring to has been systematically depriving the Colombian people of their political and social rights, including the right to life.
On June 13, when asked in Parliament what the government planned to do to end the company’s involvement with the Colombian military, Kilgour answered, “If it’s a civilian aircraft, no [military] export permit is required. If it’s military, one is. But if the work is being done outside Canada by Vector or one of its subsidiaries, no permit is required.”
This whole debate on the permit is to cover up the Canadian government’s participation in the U.S. imperialist “Plan Colombia.” The Colombian military, which is being armed and trained through “Plan Colombia,” is working with paramilitary death squads to brutally suppress the popular movements of the country. TML Daily condemns the stand of the Canadian government in supporting these actions which will later be used as a pretext under the “human security agenda” to further interfere in the internal affairs of Colombia.
Source: TML Daily, June 22, 2001 – No. 107.