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Youth, social protest and state repression in Colombia TRANSGANG statement regarding the recent situation in Colombia.

Youth, social protest and state repression in Colombia TRANSGANG statement regarding the recent situation in Colombia.

06.05.2021

 

Fulvia Márquez.

 

It is important to recognize the difficult situation that Colombia is experiencing due to the serious humanitarian crisis and the violation of human rights of Colombians as a result of the national strike called by social, trade union, youth, student and women's organizations, from April 28th, and that has continued indefinitely. We are witnessing the uprising of people who march united in one voice, demanding justice, equity and peace. The social mobilization of the moment does not arise out of the blue, but rather has a genealogy that we can trace in time, after decades of war, repression, disappearances, massacres and neoliberal policies that directly affect the poorest population and in particular the youth of the country.

 

The last decade in the country (2010-2020), was crossed by peace negotiations, until the arrival of the final peace agreement in 2016, which, despite not having the majority approval in the plebiscite for peace, -- we recall that in said plebiscite the No to the peace accords won --, it was considered a great hope to advance in the post-conflict and towards the transition to a country in peace. Although the current mobilization is focused against the current government of President Iván Duque, the country has been carrying an accumulated history of non-compliance, excesses, deaths, massacres and unpopular economic and political reforms that have been carried out and have worsened within the framework of the pandemic, revealing the situation of precariousness, unemployment and poverty, in particular in the lives of the country's youth. Specially, it is necessary to review the 6,042 juvenicides - of the so-called false positives - committed mainly during the governments of Álvaro Uribe Vélez, executed by the Colombian army to show results in the face of the confrontation with the FARC guerrillas at that time.

 

In 2011, the large student mobilization between March and November led by the National Student Broad Board (MANE) is outlined. Colombian society was shaken by the student protest, a struggle that centered on the debate and subsequent withdrawal of the reform bill to Law 30 of 1992, against the privatization of public education, which directly affected university autonomy and quality of education, a concerted reform was demanded, it was either that or its withdrawal as a bill, and indeed the Reform finally did not pass.

 

Then, the mobilization from September to December 2018 came, called by the National Union of Higher Education Students in favor of financing public universities. This mobilization demonstrated greater power of convocation and influence than the same one in 2011. The demand from the national government for more resources for higher public education demanded to correct the historical deficit related precisely to Law 30 of 1992 (El Tiempo, October 2018). Both mobilization processes reached very important achievements in their demands, obtained thanks to local and national organization, collective actions, argumentation and proposals.

 

The strike on November 21, 2019 was called by different social organizations that demanded that the national government to comply with the agreements acquired, achieved in the previous mobilizations[1]. This national strike began on November 21 and derivate in mobilizations, including La Minga Indígena, until February 2020 when the pandemic hit us, they locked us up, scared us, gagged us, and meanwhile the population continued to grow its discomfort, in addition to the reforms imposed that affect the lives of the majorities, with a Congress not functioning, without sessions, legislated through presidential decrees, which leads us to a dictatorial government, which in the midst of the pandemic continues with the massacres, the death of leaders and social leaders. This whole situation generated a massive reaction on September 9, 2020, following the death of lawyer Javier Ordoñez. This murder becomes the trigger for a protest that reflects an accumulated malaise, and that is unleashed at the first moment, at the first possibility of returning to the street.

 


A picture containing mountain, outdoor, hillsideDescription automatically generatedThe past April 28, 2021 is the purest expression of the resistance and indignation of the Colombian people, and the street again becomes the space for denunciation as a result of the deep social and economic crisis that the country has reached, of the wrong decisions of the Executive in the context of the current crisis: permanent non-compliance with the peace accords; the omission and passivity to protect the lives of social leaders who are being assassinated in many regions of the country; the increase in violence in the fields and cities; a terrible management of the strategies to face the pandemic evidenced in the lack of ICUs, because when patients arrive at them after waiting days, they are already worn out and pre-dead; the excessive increase in military investments and the significant decrease in the budgets for education, research, culture and social development in the country. To all this, the presentation in congress of a tax reform to benefit the financial sector and the rich of the country and to the detriment of the already precarious middle class and the poorest sectors is added. Equally damaging is the bill to intervene in the health sector to the detriment of patients, health professionals, medical schools and hospitals. These last two movements of the government made the cup of citizen patience overflow and they detonated in the mobilization of the 28th, which has already been going on for almost 8 days and which no longer has a reverse. We are facing an indefinite national strike, which is not only limited to the repeal of the tax reform (which has already been achieved), but also requires the demolition of the health care reform project, pensions, compliance with the health care plan. the pandemic, vaccination and even the demand for the resignation of President Duque.

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Today the youths are mobilized in a radical and committed way, a peaceful, fresh, creative mobilization for their performances, their dances and choreographies, the public concerts in the middle of the rallies. They propose approaches to the ESMAD[2] forces to show them peace and demand the right to mobilize, with a flower, with a hug, but unfortunately these forces have the order to break up the mobilization and to violate young people, to kill. Few images are more powerful than that of thousands of young people marching in the streets; When young people take over cities, change, hope and the future are breathed. The responses by the government in all of them have always been based on confrontation, control, repression, in addition to making young people see publicly as rebellious, vandals, co-opted by communism and ideologies that generate chaos and losses. to society, etc. The ghost of communism, Castro-Chavism, comes to light again to discredit and generate fear in the general population.

Today the youth are putting their corporations to the fore, in the street, in the networks in a brave, joyful way, with force because as their banners say, their t-shirts “we mobilize because we still do not have the country we deserve”; "No to the militarization of life"; "They are militarizing us, we don't want war, we want peace."

 

 

GENERAL DATA ON THE CURRENT SITUATION SHOWN BY THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS AND THE VIOLATION OF RIGHTS

 

#ColombiaeEnAlertarRoja 🆘 Newsletter 7: #ParoNacional

 

After seven days of protests at the national level, the Campaign Defend Freedom, an Affair of All, is allowed to inform the public opinion of the accumulated records on Human Rights violations until May 5 (11:50 am) in the national territory:

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  1. 24 people allegedly killed by the actions of the public force (to be verified).
  2. 381 people injured by the disproportionate actions of the National Police and in particular by ESMAD. 31 suffered eye injuries. 24 were wounded by firearm. 58 human rights defenders were attacked during the demonstrations.
  3. 15 people were victims of gender-based violence by the same institution.
  4. 1,180 people have been detained, most of them through arbitrary procedures, being subjected to torture and / or cruel and inhuman treatment.
  5. 8 raids that were declared illegal, including associated captures.
  6. 569 complaints for abuses of power, authority, assaults and police violence.
  7.  
 

[1] Teachers and students demand that the government comply with what was agreed after the 2018 national university strike in Colombia in which the president pledged to allocate 4.5 billion pesos to finance higher education. Resources that would be endangered by an article of the General Budget. The lack of political will to comply with the Peace Agreement is one of the points most demanded of the government. The systematic murder of social leaders and ex-combatants of the FARC despite the promised protection, the delays in the implementation of the Comprehensive Rural Reform or the lack of financing for the comprehensive implementation of the agreement, which in 2020 would receive 0.8% of GDP when the agreement is 10%, there are several of the breaches that are required to comply

[2] The Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) is a special unit of the Directorate of Citizen Security (DISEC) of the National Police of Colombia

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