In Colombia indigenous people have called for days of Minga, protests which have been going on since last Sunday. The protests are for the defense of life, territory and peace. In the concrete the protesters demand the defense and warranty for living and for human rights, the stop of displacement of communities by the armed conflict in Colombia, keeping to treaties signed in other mingas and a change in the plan for development (Plan de Desarrollo) to include the most marginalized of peoples.
The protests have blocked at least three important points in the Pan-American Highway in several departments of Colombia. Over 21.000 people have congregated to block one of these points and are expecting more to join the blockades.
As the days of protest have passed and the president of the old-state Duque has not appeared on sight to fulfill the protester‘s demands, the struggle has also intensified. There have been several clashes with anti-riot police, but also raids. In one instance the police attacked a camp in which pedagogic works about the minga were being held. There are two known cases of severely injured protesters by projectiles shot by the police.
The minga has seen a vast support in the population for the protest is not just centered around the indigenous communities, but also around other sectors affected by the government‘s mismanagement, such as peasant and urban communities, students and workers. The protest is mostly directed at the state for not doing anything about already signed treaties with said sectors. This stands in the light of the strong neo-liberal approach of the government, that allows multi-national companies to destroy resources (such as water) and entire communities, but also of the killings of social-leaders, which have risen at an alarming rate.
The people of Colombia have assured Duque that they won‘t budge an inch until their demands are met. The protesters are outraged that the Colombian state has been sending so-called aid to Venezuela, while their own country is facing such a dire situation. One protester said „if they have the resources to help Venezuela, then they most surely have the resources to help the most disadvantaged in their own country!“.
The protests are rightfully fighting for what the lying treacherous old state has promised, but not delivered. The demands are just and fighting to get these through, is an important step in the struggle. It is important to note though, that the old state is not there to do the bidding of the people, but to do the bidding of the capital. Whatever the outcome of the protests, the people of Colombia should see to keep organizing by themselves and stop relying on the old state and its ruling classes to keep its promises, because it won‘t.
They have shown with this year‘s minga, but also by mingas that have taken place before that they are very capable of mobilizing people in masses and successfully making successes against their aggressors. If they prolong the fight, the mingas have the potential to become more than protests and achieve more than having talks with the Colombian president and signing treaties.
Ni un paso atras!