Friday, August 30, 2013

Colombia: protests and clashes reach the capital Bogotá

The National Strike initiated by farmers and miners in Colombia has finally reached that islet of relative calm that is the capital Bogotá, as well as Cali and Medellín. 

Thousands marched through the streets peacefully yesterday... until hell broke loose. Clashes left many injured, police shot live fire.

The reaction of President Santos has been to militarize the city. Curfews are already active in several towns but this really looks like a Turkish uprising more and more, particularly as the government has very little legitimacy in a country shattered by decades of civil war and when it is clearly guilty of massacring protesters and not respecting the most basic human rights. 

The seriousness of the popular uprising can be gauged by the fact that Santos had to acknowledge for the first time that the farm sector has been abandoned.  

However he and his ministers appealed to the ghost of the guerrilla, whom they call "terrorists", in order to demonize and divide the protesters. 

But the real issue, the real terrorism is the brutal reality of Capitalist accumulation:
"My purchase power is zero, it's only enough to survive," said Orlando Pamo, 50, an indigenous father of six from central Tolima province who earns less than the minimum wage farming citrus and other fruits. "The government wants us off the land so it can be given to big business. We don't get the benefits companies get."

Sources: Reuters, NBC (photo gallery), Euronews (video), BBC, Webguerrillero[es] (photo gallery and video). 

Update: nice synthetic and musicalized video of the protests (comments in Spanish only but mostly images from the demos and some of the repression):

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