In Colombia, the fourth largest economy of Latin America, the government enacted a heavy tax law on April 15 instead of solving the unemployment problem of more than 20% through social support and employment policy. In the country where half of the population lives below the poverty line, the people took to the streets saying that enough is enough. Hundreds of thousands took their objections to the streets. In the country where 75,000 people died during the pandemic, neoliberal president Duque had to step back and withdraw the law, but the people continued to protest to see concrete progress in pensions, health, and education services and to end police violence.
The US-backed Duque government has increased the horrific violence against the people by using pandemic conditions as an excuse. Especially in the last two years, combined with the land grabbing, the killing of indigenous peoples, peasants and opponents through paramilitary organizations, the pandemic and increasing unemployment, the people showed a determination not to return to their homes without seeing concrete change.
Approximately 30 activists have been killed by police bullets in front of the cameras so far. Nearly 1000 people were injured. All over Colombia, the activists who filled the streets faced violent pressure from the US-trained riot police called ESMAD. In order to legitimize this extreme violence, the Department of Defense claimed that the actions contained a “terrorism threat and Vandalism”. However, despite these statements full of lies, which were given to the international press and supported by Washington, the anger of the people does not stop. Colombians continue to fight against police violence, poverty and the chaos created by the pandemic.
As Workers’ Party of Turkey, we stand by the struggle of the workers, the youth, women and all the oppressed, wherever they are in the world. We are not silent that no dictator bears the burden of the pandemic to the laborers and shows violence to people who take to the streets for their democratic rights.
We stand by the Colombian people.
Long live international solidarity!