Buenaventura, Colombia Strikes Against Racial Capitalism

In 2017, Junior Jein, a rapper from Buenaventura [Colombia], released a song that became the anthem of a protest. But he did not appear in the music video. Instead, karaoke-style lyrics play alongside a CGI television set that shows clips of police motorcades patrolling the city, cops raiding neighborhoods, and children choking on tear gas. In the background, a steady fire burns through a chain link fence bordered by the yellow and green flags of Buenaventura.

The chorus repeats: “ESMAD, fucking ESMAD. Esa es la respuesta que el gobierno nos da.” ESMAD, that’s the response that the government gives us.

Junior Jein’s song, aptly named “Fucking ESMAD,” goes on to describe the conditions of state violence in the city: “If we ask for water, they send us ESMAD.

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Forced Displacements In Colombia Increase By Over 169% During 2021

The Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES), on December 22, warned of an alarming increase in massive and multiple forced displacement events in Colombia during 2021. The CODHES reported that between January and November, 2021, 82,846 people were forcibly displaced from their homes and territories, a figure that represents an increase of 169.3% as compared to the same period in 2020. The CODHES further reported that a total number of 167 displacement events were recorded in these eleven months, which represents an increase of 65.3% in relation to the same period in 2020.

CODHES also reported that this year’s increase in displacement incidents had been marked by an increase in displacement of Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities.

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Death Squads Threaten Human Rights Defender Darnelly Rodriguez

Darnelly Rodriguez is the Centro Pazífico coordinator and the coordinator for the Francisco Isaías Cifuentes Human Rights Network (REDDHFIC)’s Valle Del Cauca chapter. On November 19 2021, she received the second of two death threats in two weeks. This threat came from the AGC paramilitary group. She was listed along with several other social movement and union leaders in a pamphlet that was left under the door of Cali’s largest labor federation.

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Solidarity Center Funding Skyrockets For Venezuela And Colombia

The Solidarity Center’s activities in Venezuela and Colombia skyrocketed last year. Funding from the mis-named National Endowment for Democracy (NED) soared to almost 60% over the previous year’s awards. The 2020 funding, alone, represents over 40% of the total for similar grants for the last five years on record ($3,617,000). In 2020, the Solidarity Center’s Bogotá office received $1,470,000 in regional NED funding. That is up over $626,000 in 2019. Additionally, the NED gave a $50,000 award for “a survey of labor rights violations” but did not specify to whom the grant was given.

The Solidarity Center works closely with long-time partners, the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV, for Confederación de Trabajadores de Venezuela), as well as the Labor Solidarity Movement (MSL for Movimiento de Solidridad Laboral), which includes current and former CTV officials in its leadership, as well as Orlando Chirino, who was a candidate for president of Venezuela against Hugo Chávez in 2012.

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Community Guards: Self-Protection And Peoples’ Autonomy

An interview with the guard leaders of the Peasant, Cimarrona and Indigenous communities about the processes they have implemented since the beginning of the National Strike in Colombia. For them, self-justice goes beyond exercising authority; it means protecting their territory and the lives of those who inhabit their lands.

The National Popular Assembly (NPA) that took place on July 17–19 at the University of Valle, in Cali, was systematically targeted and sabotaged by public forces. But, the intervention of the Cimarrona, Indigenous and farmer community guards and the front-line protesters guaranteed a safe and peaceful space for the meeting.

“Police officers know how to treat others as police officers, a guerrilla as a guerrilla, and the paramilitary as the paramilitary,” said Manuel Correa, “(…) they each have their own ideology, but they are far removed from the cosmovision of the black people.”

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Popular Resistance In The Age Of Neoliberal War

Since April 28 hundreds of thousands of Colombians have taken to the streets to demand the end to neoliberal reforms, chanting “el pueblo unido jamás será vencido”. Now, a month later their joint call has grown into a generalized rejection of the neoliberal and far-right government of Ivan Duque. His government is polled as the least popular in recent Colombian history, already a low bar for a State that has waged an ongoing war against its people.

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Venezuela Warns US For Military Aircraft Violating Its Airspace

A C-17 military transport aircraft belonging to the US Air Force flew into Venezuela’s Zulia state, which borders Colombia, on Thursday evening, its Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez said in a statement. The plane allegedly flew on this course for some 14 nautical miles (26 kilometers), the ministry said. It added that US planes had allegedly crossed into the country on 21 occasions this year, calling it a “serious violation of international aeronautical standards.”

Washington has not immediately commented, according to Reuters.

The “flagrant provocation” happened as part of joint military drills in Colombia in which American fighter jets are participating, Venezuela said. “Reconnaissance tasks are being carried out towards the Venezuelan geographical area,” it alleged, condemning the US military presence in Colombia, which, it said, “significantly affects stability” in the whole South American and Caribbean region.

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Jorge Rodríguez Denounces New Drone Assassination Attempt On President

On Tuesday, July 13, during a press conference held at the Federal Legislative Palace, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly (AN), deputy Jorge Rodríguez, presented new evidence of destabilization attempts perpetrated by the extreme right, which armed and trained the gangs of Cota 905 to try overthrowing the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

Rodríguez stated that on June 22 an attack was thwarted that would have targeted President Nicolás Maduro while he was inaugurating the monument for the Bicentennial of the Battle of Carabobo. Four drones were used in the attack, which were intercepted and deactivated by Venezuelan intelligence services.

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Why Many In Colombia Embark On New Strike

Social organizations called new strikes for Tuesday, Colombia’s Independence Day, to demand that Congress passes legislation on economic policy, peace and human rights.

The latest strike was called by the National Strike Committee more than 80 days after it’s initial April 28 strike sparked protests throughout Colombia that have continued in the cities.

The initial protests successfully sunk a controversial tax reform, but failed to force the far-right government of President Ivan Duque to negotiate demands on economic policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Strike Committee has given up on the increasingly tyrannical government and is now trying to pressure Congress, which begins a new legislative year on Tuesday,

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The National Strike In Colombia: A Trade Union Perspective

While the beginnings of this strike were directly tied to popular discontent with the government’s proposed tax reform bill, it was also a resurgence of the huge protests that enveloped Colombia from November 2019 to February 2020. But more than just a spontaneous reflection of the broad social crisis that has gripped Colombia for decades, the present context portends a much deeper, wider, and momentous social explosion.

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Protesters In Colombia Are Finding Ways To Break The Stigma Of Dissent

A recent satirical video has been gaining steam among Colombian youth, titled “Todo es Culpa de Petro,” **or “Everything is Petro’s fault.” The video highlights the story of a young man who has everything going wrong in his life, from missing class to getting rejected by his crush. The person behind his misfortune is revealed to be none other than leftist politician Gustavo Petro, former M-19 guerilla, senator and presidential candidate. Although the video is meant to be a joke, it does reflect the dominant media narrative — and much of the mainstream political discourse — which blames the protests that have gripped Colombia since April 28 on Petro. This is despite the fact that he has no connections to them, and they have been spontaneously organized.

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Strikers Across Colombia Are Demanding Transformational Change

What started as a Colombian protest against a regressive tax bill has become a national strike against police brutality and poverty.

The administration of President Ivan Duque has already pulled back the tax reform and the finance minister has resigned, but people are angry and marches and road blocks continue. Unions, student groups, and other organizations have formed a National Strike Committee which is negotiating with the government, demanding transformational change.

Among the strike committee’s demands are guaranteed health care during the pandemic, a universal basic income, and a commitment to protecting domestic industries. Protesters are blocking roads and commerce to create leverage, which the government claims is causing shortages of basic goods.

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Colombia Removes Statues Of Columbus And Spanish Queen After Attacks

Colombia’s culture ministry removed statues of 15th-century explorer Christopher Columbus and Spain’s late Queen Isabella amid fears they would be tumbled.

Government workers removed the statues from their pedestals in the capital Bogota on Friday after native Colombian protesters tried to tumble them on Wednesday.

The attempts triggered tensions with a fringe white supremacist group that subsequently tried to attack the protesters of the Misak people from southwest Colombia.

According to the Culture Ministry, the statues that were erected in 1906 were taken to a safe place for “a process of restauration.”

The National Patrimony agency said that it would hold talks with different social sectors about the future of the European explorer and the late monarch who financed the naval adventure that led Columbus to the Americas.

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Social Movements And Protestors Intensify Struggle In Colombia

In today’s episode of the Daily Round-up we look at the ongoing national strike in Colombia and the establishment of the National People’s Assembly by various social movements, the ongoing vote count in Peru as the presidential runoff elections draw to a close, a countrywide strike for better wages and safe working conditions by health workers in New Zealand, the ongoing strike to demand a renewal of wages by garment and textile workers in Lesotho, and 6 years of the #NiUnaMenos movement against femicide and other forms of gender-based violence.

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Peace In Colombia Should Mean Land Reform And An End To Hunger

Since the end of April, Colombia’s streets have smelled of tear gas. The government of Colombian President Iván Duque imposed policies that put the costs of the pandemic on the working class and the peasantry and tried to suffocate any advancement of the Havana peace accords of 2016. Discontent led to street protests, which were repressed harshly by the government. These protests, Rodrigo Granda of Colombia’s Comunes party told us in an interview, “are defined by the wide participation of youth, women, artists, religious people, the Indigenous, Afro-Colombians, unions and organizations from neighborhoods of the poor and the working class. Practically the whole of Colombia is part of the struggle.”

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