Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Workers Call for New Mobilizations in Colombia

The Duque administration and the National Committee of Paro have established a dialogue roundtable to create a solution to the conflict, but no agreement has yet been reached. The Colombian streets show that the key is popular mobilization.

Facebook Twitter Share

Colombia has now been on national strike for more than a month. In these 36 days of mobilizations, which began April 28, there have been 5,575 rallies, 2,180 marches, 2,924 blockades, 598 mobilizations, and 22 assemblies in 809 municipalities. Also, in this period, more than 2,000 demonstrators have been injured, and according to the NGO Temblores and the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz), there have been 60 deaths during Colombian protests in the last month. The blockades in particular have been incredibly effective, having cost the economy about $2.68 billion.

This Wednesday, June 2, a new day of mobilizations was called for in the main cities of Colombia: Bogota, Cali, Manizales, Bucamaranga, Barranquilla, and Cartagena, among others. Over a month ago, a space was convened in Montería to gather representatives from different regions, proposing to listen to the communities and build consensus to solve ongoing problems. The Duque administration is betting that discussions with union representatives and different social organizations leading the anti-government protests will quell the unrest. Last week, the committee reached an agreement, but on Tuesday, June 1, they accused the government of backtracking and ended the talks. In the same way that the Duque administration subdued some of the more militant activists in the movement by engaging in ultimately fruitless discussion, the union leaderships grouped together to form the National Strike Committee (CPN), demobilizing the youth and workers who continue on the front lines. Despite denouncing the discussions, saying that the “dialogue is a trap,” the National Strike Committee has still been engaging in failed negotiations with the Colombian government, while the more militant sectors continue to protest in the streets, especially young urban workers.

Yesterday, when the CPN called for mobilizations, they made a call to unblock the roads of the country. This is a demand of the Duque government and of the bourgeoisie, for which they can not afford to deploy the army to repress the vanguard organized in these blockades. Ending the blockades would be a totally conciliatory act on the part of the union bureaucracy in favor of the pockets of the Colombian businessmen. The blockades, after all, are what make the national strike effective. As shown by the figures published by the newspaper El Tiempo, 100 billion pesos are being lost daily in Valle del Cauca alone.

According to the CNP, they have managed to lift 40 blockades in order to “reestablish the supply of food, fuel and medical supplies in the cities of Colombia,” something totally false because these organized blockades have arranged humanitarian and sanitary supply channels so that there is no shortage of basic necessities for life. The CNP is concealing that its activity is linked to the reestablishment of “normality” in Colombia without any intention of putting up a fight to overthrow Duque through mobilization.

The unblocking of the roads has been the key demand from the beginning, requested by the national government before they will start the discussions. The Strike Committee assures that “there is no longer any reason not to sign the pre-agreements that came out of the meetings that have been taking place for several weeks.” It is still not known what these agreements will be in the end.

After several weeks of dirty campaigns against the demonstrations, most of the mobilizations were limited to artistic activities, isolating the most militant sectors. The organizations that make up the National Strike Committee, together with different sectors of the political spectrum (including the progressives of Gustavo Petro’s Historic Block), have not won concessions from the government but are still being asked to tell protesters to stop the blockades. It is, furthermore, a demand that the most right-wing sectors have been making, such as the bosses who see their profits affected by the blockades, or the ultra-right-wing and former president Alvaro Uribe, who has been pressing for an even more repressive policy.

A large part of the youth has expressed in different ways that they do not feel represented by the organizations that make up the Strike Committee. And in spite of all the coordinated efforts of the different parties that make up the Colombian political system, there are still vanguard sectors of the student and worker youth mobilized and organized in the blockades, making the national strike effective and showing that popular mobilization is key.

The only thing that can stop the repressive advances is the mobilization and organization of the sectors in struggle. It is clear who the “dialogue” favors. The National Strike Committee should immediately break off all negotiations with the government until it withdraws the military, stops the repression, and releases all those detained.

This would be the first step to strengthen the mobilization with a plan to impose a real national strike, paralyzing the total production of the country to achieve the demands of the rebellion and to throw out the repressive government.

Originally published in Spanish on June 2, 2021 in La Izquierda Diario.

Translated by K.S. Mehta.

Facebook Twitter Share

La Izquierda Diario Argentina

Our Argentinian sister site, part of the international network of La Izquierda Diario

Latin America

‘You Have to Change Things from the Root’: Interview With a Young Immigrant

Left Voice interviewed a 23-year-old immigrant, factory worker, and student, who told us about his experience crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. and about the life of Latin American youth in the United States.

Left Voice

April 5, 2024
A square in Argentina is full of protesters holding red banners

48 Years After the Military Coup, Tens of Thousands in Argentina Take to the Streets Against Denialism and the Far Right

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Argentina on March 24 to demand justice for the victims of the state and the military dictatorship of 1976. This year, the annual march had renewed significance, defying the far-right government’s denialism and attacks against the working class and poor.

Madeleine Freeman

March 25, 2024

Declaration: End Imperialist Intervention in Haiti, Solidarity with the Haitian People

The “Multinational Security Support Mission” announced by the United States marks a new imperialist-colonial intervention in Haiti by the United States, the UN, and their allies.

The Fight against Javier Milei Has Set The Stage For a Whole New Wave of Struggle

The defeat of the Omnibus Law is a key victory for the movement against Javier Milei’s austerity plan and attacks on democratic rights. It shows that the working class and oppressed have the power to fight against the advance of the Far Right in Argentina and across the world.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

February 9, 2024

MOST RECENT

Several police officers surrounded a car caravan

Detroit Police Escalate Repression of Pro-Palestinian Protests

On April 15, Detroit Police cracked down on a pro-Palestine car caravan. This show of force was a message to protestors and an attempt to slow the momentum of the movement by intimidating people off the street and tying them up in court.

Brian H. Silverstein

April 18, 2024
A group of protesters carry a banner that says "Labor Members for Palestine, Ceasefire Now!" on a Palestinian flag background

Labor Notes Must Call on Unions to Mobilize for Palestine on May Day

As the genocide in Gaza rages on, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions has called on workers around the world to mobilize against the genocide on May 1. Labor Notes, one of the leading organizers of the U.S. labor movement, must heed this call and use their influence in the labor movement to call on unions to join the mobilization

Julia Wallace

April 18, 2024
South Korean president Yoon Suk-Yeol.

South Korea’s Legislative Election: A Loss for the Right-Wing President, but a Win for the Bourgeois Regime

South Korea’s legislative elections on April 10 were a decisive blow to President Yoon Suk-Yeol — but a win for the bourgeois regime.

Joonseok

April 18, 2024
Google employees staging a sit-in against the company's role in providing technology for the Israeli Defense Forces. The company then fired 28 employees.

Workers at Google Fired for Standing with Palestine

Google has fired 28 workers who staged a sit-in and withheld their labor. The movement for Palestine must take up the fight against repression.

Left Voice

April 18, 2024