archivos de los protestos globales

Repression of Protests in Colombia

Thu, 18 May 2006 15:50:27 -0400

Most of you probably know that since Monday there have been protests in various parts of Colombia. We are waiting to get confirmation on the specifics from folks there, but it appears that at least two indigenous people have been killed, apparently both from bullet wounds, and many more have been injured (70-80). Below is a statement we translated from RECALCA. There are at least two locations in the country where this has been happening, both in places where the Pan-American Highway was being blocked by protesters.


At the writing of this pronouncement, the indigenous mobilization from Northern Cauca, which began last Monday, is still occupying the Pan-American Highway. The violent response of the police to this manifestation has left one indigenous compañero dead and more than 70 wounded. If this isn't enough, the Departmental and National Governments, through their spokesperson, the Minister of Interior and the Vice President have come up with no better answer that to accuse the indigenous protest of being an action of the FARC (one of the armed rebel groups). In reaction to this ridiculous and scandalous accusation, the Colombian people must express a profound rejection, and demand that the repression stop and that a negotiation begin immediately.

First, what needs to be clearly pointed out is that the indigenous mobilization, which began on Monday is part of a national campaign against the FTA with the United States, and for national dignity and sovereignty. In addition to the indigenous peoples, thousands of poor farmers from all over the country and workers in the principal cities, including Bogotá, made their protest felt. The communication media, as is their custom, have hidden or minimized the popular outpouring. This was not only an exclusively indigenous protest, although they have expressed their own demands, including a demand for lands, which have been promised to them for more than 20 years, and the demand for fumigations to be stopped because they have already caused so much damage to crops, animals and also to the people's health.

The indigenous protest against the FTA is nothing new.

They fully understand that this treaty will seriously affect their ancestral lands, culture and autonomy and it is a true threat to their lives. Last year popular consultations were carried out among the indigenous peoples who freely expressed an overwhelming rejection of the FTA. As in other cases, the government ignored their opinion. It is precisely this arrogant and anti-democratic attitude of the government, which violates the public will that has obligated social sectors to demonstrate with force. Protests will continue until the government halts its intention to sign this shameful sacrifice of our country to the multinationals and to the policies of the United States government. It is not permissible for this government, in the middle of a re-election campaign, to resort to dirty warfare, in order ignore the will of the Colombian people. The President has already stated the ridiculous and troubling argument asserted by all dictators, that the opposition is really "disguised communists". At the same time they are detaining the leadership of the small farmers groups, and carrying out raids. Of most concern are the suspicious assassinations, disappearances and dark threats against human rights organizations. Apparently, this is how the hope to insure their re-election. It is not acceptable to deny legitimacy to the protests by asserting that they are motivated by "political interests," when what is at stake is clearly political. The entire future of Colombia is at risk; these are the demands of the people who can no longer tolerate their miserable conditions, and have discovered that a new proposal for the country is necessary. If this is expressed in the middle of an electoral cycle, that is the most logical response. We will continue to reject the FTA, during and after the electoral campaign. We also strongly reject the repression which has been unleashed, and we call on all social organizations to express their protest.

colombia 2006 | plan colombia | (archives) |

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