Strikes set to spread as Santos arrives 6hrs late for negotiations and Quintana shows support

English language Colombian dailies Colombia Politics and Colombia Reports today continue to highlight the groundswell of support for the strike and protest movement, with teachers set to join in on 10th September and oil workers showing support. Even the famous cyclist Quintana has come out in support of the strikers.

‘The Week Santos Lost Colombia’ report by Colombia Politics.

‘Colombia govt delegation arrives 6 hrs late at meeting with farmers, strikes expand to oil sectors’ from Colombia Reports; and

‘Colombia cyclist Nairo Quintana publicly supports anti government protests‘.

Grassroots news and reports will be put up as soon as we can locate them, but for ongoing updates on the ground, you can go to this Facebook page. It is in Spanish but ‘bling’ provides translations of each message.

Social protest grows across Colombia as trade union leader arrested

Two reports early today highlight that the strikes and protests currently gripping the country, far from abating are, in fact, growing and spreading.

Other news of concern is the arrest of a trade union leader who is due to speak at the Trade Union Congress in the UK.

The first report is from Colombia Reports, headlined: ‘Social unrest in Colombia spreads as govt fails to reach out to strikers’

“As President Juan Manuel Santos’ government tries to calm the situation through localized negotiations, Colombia’s national strike movement is gaining momentum with shows of support from the citizenry and the addition of new groups to strike efforts.” Read More.

The second report is from The City Paper, headlined: ‘Strike: Boyaca‘s predicament’

“The normally tranquil roads winding through the mountainous department of Boyaca have become the eipcenter of Colombia’s agrarian strike over the last week as protestors block major highways and dump truckloads of tomatoes and milk onto the streets. Farmers protesting Colombia’s Free Trade Agreement with the United States and the price of fertilizer, among other economic issues, have succeeded in preventing the transport of agricultural products to the nation’s capital and in bringing Boyaca to a standstill.” Read More.

windin
The normally tranquil roads winding through the mountainous department of Boyacá have become the epicenter of Colombia’s agrarian strike over the last week as protestors block major highways and dump truckloads of tomatoes and milk onto the streets.  Farmers protesting Colombia’s Free Trade Agreement with the United States and the price of fertilizer, among other economic issues, have succeeding in preventing the transport of agricultural products to the nation’s capital and in bringing Boyacá to a standstill. – See more at: http://thecitypaperbogota.com/news/strike-boyacas-predicament/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thecitypaperbogota+%28The+City+Paper+Bogot%C3%A1%29#sthash.XdTCnAgG.dpuf
The normally tranquil roads winding through the mountainous department of Boyacá have become the epicenter of Colombia’s agrarian strike over the last week as protestors block major highways and dump truckloads of tomatoes and milk onto the streets.  Farmers protesting Colombia’s Free Trade Agreement with the United States and the price of fertilizer, among other economic issues, have succeeding in preventing the transport of agricultural products to the nation’s capital and in bringing Boyacá to a standstill. – See more at: http://thecitypaperbogota.com/news/strike-boyacas-predicament/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thecitypaperbogota+%28The+City+Paper+Bogot%C3%A1%29#sthash.XdTCnAgG.dpuf
The normally tranquil roads winding through the mountainous department of Boyacá have become the epicenter of Colombia’s agrarian strike over the last week as protestors block major highways and dump truckloads of tomatoes and milk onto the streets.  Farmers protesting Colombia’s Free Trade Agreement with the United States and the price of fertilizer, among other economic issues, have succeeding in preventing the transport of agricultural products to the nation’s capital and in bringing Boyacá to a standstill. – See more at: http://thecitypaperbogota.com/news/strike-boyacas-predicament/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thecitypaperbogota+%28The+City+Paper+Bogot%C3%A1%29#sthash.XdTCnAgG.dpuf

The third is from Justice for Colombia, regarding the arrest of the trade union leader Huber Ballasteros:

“The CUT, Colombia’s largest trade union confederation has called for the release of Huber Ballesteros, one of the country’s most high-profile union and opposition leaders.

“Ballesteros was arrested on Sunday 25th August in Bogota. The arrest comes in the midst of mass industrial action taking place around the country in the agricultural, health, transport and energy sectors. Ballesteros is one of the leaders of the strikes and one of the 10 person committee set up for any eventual negotiations with the Government.

“He was due to address the TUC Conference on Wednesday 11th September as well as JFC Fringe meeting at lunchtime on the Tuesday 10th, as the official guest of the TUC. He also had several meetings with MPs in Westminster.” Read More

 

Hola y bienvenidos a Colombia Resistencia! (Hello and welcome to Colombia Resistance!)

Welcome to our new blog, reporting on the resistance movement in Colombia!

Colombia is a beautiful country: there are many blogs and news reports on why you should visit, a recent one being 10 reasons why to like Colombia. We have moved and are settling into a country whose motto is ‘the only risk is wanting to stay’. That has, indeed, happened in our case, and we are strong supporters of tourism to the country, and would invite people from all continents to visit for a holiday!

However, Colombia’s political side only receives a smattering of reporting in the English-speaking world. Prior to moving here, our impression of that side was very simplistic: a major exporter of drugs that the government is eager to crack down on, a rural shady resistance organization called FARC, and a high crime rate coupled with human rights abuses. We also identified Colombia as being the closest Latin American country, politically, to the USA.

Less well known to us was the resistance to social injustice. It is an important dimension to life in Colombia because it demonstrates that people in urban and rural areas are fighting against human rights abuses and State oppression, and for a more equitable society.

Our aim is not to scare people away from Colombia – we have found it to be relatively safe providing people do the sensible things that all tourist guides advise: e.g. don’t venture into those deep rural areas where the armed conflict is alive!

Our concerns are not only that the poor image of Colombia abroad is out of all proportion to reality. As social activists in our respective countries, we have found English news reporting on the groundswell of resistance to oppression fragmented. We also notice that there is a lack of English-language reporting on radical autonomous perspectives.

There are many different websites and blogs reporting daily, in English and Spanish, on the situation in Colombia. The aim here is to bring English language reports together under a website where the central focus is on resistance to State injustice and oppression.

This blog will have two main focuses. The key aim is to bring to the English-language world the resistance of the people of Colombia to human rights abuses and State repression, by drawing attention to reporting on the following issues:

– Resistance to the State by workers, their representative organizations and the trade union movement;

– Resistance of the Indigenous people to the attempts of multinational companies to drive them from their land;

– Cultural resistance in all media and all art-forms; for example, journalism or graffiti;

– Actions of non-hierarchical, autonomous and Leftist movements throughout the region.

We would like to add a caveat and an appeal.

We have no connections with any of the people or movements listed or reported, we are not affiliated to any political party or movement, nor are we journalists. We are not so brave, but we are taking a risk given the human rights abuses that exist in the country. We do, however, side with those resisting State oppression and that of the multinational companies intent on grabbing land and resources at the expense of indigenous peoples.

We would be interested in knowing of any English-language websites or blogs readers may think would be useful to link to this website. We also welcome important news reports that we may have missed.

We wholeheartedly welcome entries to this blog from people at the cutting edge of social protest movements, be they information from the front-line, reports, photographs or video.  These may be sent anonymously of course.

We are new, so give us time to evolve. The cultural resistance aspect of our blog is extremely vital, as we believe that humor, music, dance, creative resistance, celebration of protest, and having fun in the process, is vital to the struggle for social change.

In solidarity

T&B