Conflicts & War

Colombian body-armor maker gears up to meet demand from Ukraine

By Ovidio Castro Medina

Bogota, Mar 10 (EFE).- Colombian entrepreneur Miguel Caballero, creator of bulletproof garments for 41 heads of state, has mobilized the workers at his factory in suburban Bogota to meet surging demand for body armor from Ukraine amid the Russian assault that started on Feb. 24.

The self-styled “Armani of bulletproof clothing” started 30 years ago with $10 and now employs nearly 700 people.

“We have been getting requests since the war began,” Caballero told Efe at MC Armor’s facility. “Demand has been very high and we have been supplying for civilian personnel, especially doctors, nurses, and others from humanitarian entities who are there helping people and who, therefore, need protection to carry out their activities.”

The governments of the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Belgium have placed orders with MC Armor for bulletproof vests and helmets to be donated to Ukraine.

Over the last three decades, the firm has built up an international clientele that includes law enforcement, military, and other governmental elements in Colombia and 23 other countries.

“Now we have a great challenge and it is to meet the demand from Ukraine. A few days ago we were able to send the first shipment of 2,000 vests and 2,000 helmets. Soon we will send another 2,000 vests and another 2,000 helmets,” Caballero said.

A resounding “no” was his response when asked if MC Armor profits from war.

“I’m not part of the war. We don’t sell weapons, we don’t sell munitions, tanks. Our mission is to save the life of the human being,” he said, adding that MC Armor is in the business of “protection and prevention.”

To reinforce the point, Caballero said that despite the surge in demand, the firm continues to price its bulletproof vests in the range of $500 to $600.

“If one goes to buy this in other countries, such as the United States, the price doesn’t go below $2,000,” he said.

As assembly and shipping coordinator, Maria Rosalba Tapias Parra, who has been with MC Armor from its earliest days, is responsible for ensuring the quality of every product that goes out the door.

“In the assembly, which is where the armor pieces are attached to the clothing to make it armored, we work – as in every step of production – with maximum care. A badly assembled piece can cause a problem,” she told Efe while inspecting a black bulletproof vest emblazoned across the back with “Press” in white letters.

Each of the up to 800 vests produced in a typical working day “must be carefully examined to avoid any problem,” Tapias said. “Here there is no margin for error.” EFE ocm/dr

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