This 25th of April a massive general strike erupted across Colombia. Reason for this was the 4-year plan of the current government, known as Plan Nacional de Desarrollo (National Development Plan) in Colombia. The Plan Nacional de Desarrollo (PND) of 2018-2022 under the current government of Ivan Duque has met with a lot of justified anger by the Colombian population, something which already caused massive protests among students last year (7 Million students protested against education cuts) and among indigenous people and other groups in March this year. Seeing that the government was not responding to any demands and that the situation in the country was becoming evermore dire, the Colombian people said "no more" and organized for a general strike on the 25th of April!
The reasons for the strikes are plenty. The PND pushes forward a program, which could not be more viciously aimed against the poorer sectors of society. It seems to encompass about any topic ranging from education to pension reforms, from proper health care to labor rights, from territory treaties of indigenous people and other groups to peace treaties with armed groups such as FARC and peace talks with ELN (just to name a few). In each one of these the Colombian state is completely trampling over the will and the rights of the people, while pushing their exploitative and oppressive agenda forward.
The PND contains many changes, which taking separately would suffice to send any country on a general strike, like the pension reform, which will see the health expenditures within the pension reduced from 12% to 4%. According to the president of the Confederación de Pensionados de Colombia (Federation of Retirees of Colombia) the Colombian state is also trying to lower the pensions to a level below the minimum wage.
One of the bigger demands is that the Colombian state has to respect the treaties and agreements made with prior governments. It is this demand, which was central in setting off the days of Minga for not recognizing territories, rights and peoples. Another one being the peace treaty with the FARC (many former guerrilla fighters being killed since the signing) and the peace talks with the ELN.
Instead of seeing any kind of response by the government, these groups have been attacked multiple times. In one instance the Minga's spokesperson was stabbed and in the process was robbed of valuable information about the movement. Many have been injured and up to 8 people have been killed in the confrontations. In the context of numerous murders of social-leaders (226 between the 1st of January and the 17th of Novemeber of 2018), the protests are being fueled by the state terror of the Colombian state.
The protests have been going on fiercely. The old Colombian state fearing their loss of control have sent in their special anti-riot police units Esmad. They used long range weapons against peaceful demonstrators wounding many. This show of force, shows the state's lack of interest of starting dialogue, which is one of the aims of the protests. This response by the Colombian state clearly violates the constitutional right of the Colombian people to congregate and protest. This shows once again that the lackeys of the imperialists will drop their own rules when it serves them right. They will drop their facade of legality and use the violence of the state against the oppressed and exploited masses.
The Colombian population has shown great fighting spirit and have stubbornly resisted so far. It is important that the movement while fighting for reforms does not stop at that. It is known that the Colombian state with its history of corruption and brutality is not to be trusted (as much as no bourgeois or bureacratic-capitalist state is to be trusted). The protests cannot stop at reforms, the masses need to keep pushing and keep fighting. Different self-defense groups among indigenous and other people have organized, which is a good sign of the people realizing the importance of the armed struggle. Only with a New-democratic Revolution can the Colombian people break their chains and move towards real freedom of oppression.
The strike is still underway. We salute the courageous people of Colombia in their righteous fight against their oppressors!
Down with the PND!
Rebellion is justified!