Socialism Revolucionario (Chile) and the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI/CIT) declares our support and solidarity with the social uprising of the workers and youth of Colombia. We condemn the government of Iván Duque that has unleashed State terrorism against its people who exercise their legitimate right to protest, which is formally accepted within the Constitution and laws of Colombia. The Colombian state has shown that it is nothing more than a criminal apparatus, a narco-state that does not hesitate to massacre its people.
The government of Iván Duque, in office from 2018, has introduced reactionary legal counter-reforms, such as those regarding the health sector, that opens the way for privatization. It has supported or been complicit in the face of human rights violations, breaches of the peace agreements between the national government and the FARC-EP, the continuation of massacres and assassinations of social movements’ leaders, the announcement of the return of glyphosate fumigations, the increase in violence in the country and the purchase of armaments, including fighter planes and tanks, for the detested mobile anti-riot police.
The disastrous treatment of the coronavirus pandemic by the reactionary government of Duque has led the working people of Colombia into a catastrophic situation in health and social conditions. Now there is a new peak (or new wave) of the pandemic, with more than 2,900,000 cases, and over 76,000 deaths, to date.
In the midst of the crisis, poverty and despair hit the population hard. According to the National Directorate of Statistics of Colombia, unemployment exceeds 20% in many regions, and 2.3 million households can only afford two meals in total a day. Poverty in the capital Bógota has tripled in twelve months!
But what finally broke the patience of the working people was the tax reform proposal that increased regressive taxes, such as VAT, which applies to consumer goods, removing exemptions for necessities. It is a direct attack on the deteriorating living conditions of the people.
The response to the attacks of the government was the call by the National Strike Committee for an indefinite national strike, and the protest to begin on 28 April. Since that day, Colombia has seen a general and huge mobilization, at the head of which is the courageous youth in the streets. They have responded to the call of the trade unions, peasant, indigenous and student organizations that are grouped together in the National Committee for the Strike.
On 27 April, peasant organizations mobilized against the use of glyphosate on crops, which is toxic and carcinogenic. The rebellion quickly spread throughout the country, with mass demonstrations and labour strikes in some sectors, blocking roads. These mobilizations have continued despite the militarization and the criminal repression ordered by President Duque. On Sunday 2 May, the popular mobilization scored its first victory, and the tax reform was withdrawn, and the Minister of Works was forced to resign.
The response of the State and the Duque government has been the militarization of the country and murderous repression against the marches and legitimate protests. State terrorism against the demonstrators has been unleashed. The police and military are firing live ammunition against unarmed people and have deployed tanks and helicopters against protesters on the streets. Over thirty people have been killed and hundreds arrested. This heroic revolt is part of a revolutionary wave that is shaking the entire continent.
From Socialism Revolucionario (Chile) and the Committee for a Workers’ International, we stand in solidarity with the trade unions and social organizations of the National Unemployment Committee that have organized the protest.
- We affirm that the people have the legitimate right to self-defence against the terrorist violence of the State,
- We support working people and youth in their neighbourhoods and communities building committees of action to coordinate and organise the struggle.
- For the building of a mass party of the working class and the poor.
- For a government of workers, peasants and indigenous people, to open the way to a socialist society, with freedom, social equality and respect for life.
- Trial and punishment of those guilty of the massacres and repression.
- Out with Duque and his murderous capitalist government!