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  • Woman takes part in a protest as a national strike continues in Bogota, Colombia Dec. 16, 2019.

    Woman takes part in a protest as a national strike continues in Bogota, Colombia Dec. 16, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 December 2019
Opinion

The government delegate insisted on avoiding "the kind of demands" made by the citizens.

Although massive protests have paralyzed Colombia for three weeks in a row, President Ivan Duque does not give up positions. The sixth meeting between his envoys and the National Strike Committee (NSC) ended without agreements on Wednesday.

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The citizens submitted 104 specific requests to the authorities. The government delegate Diego Molano, however, pointed out that the NSC proposal should be carefully analyzed. For their themes are out of the Executive branch reach.

Among these requests are the release of political prisoners, the revision of the national defense policy, and the conversion of Ecopetrol into a fully state-owned company.

Molano then insisted on "avoiding the kind of demands that were included in the NSC document," local radio Caracol reported.

Meanwhile, the Central Workers Union of Colombia (CUT) president Diogenes Orjuela denounced that the Duke administration has no will to continue the negotiation.

He also explained that the 104 petitions, which the government wants to ignore as if they were last-minute inventions, have been raised since the beginning of the talks because they are part of the unresolved issues that concern Colombians the most.

"They are aware of the unpopularity of the Tax Reform, which is why they took the Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron (ESMAD) to the Congress of the Republic. Tremendous image of the Colombian 'democracy'."

For its part, the National Strike Committee spokesperson Fabio Arias said that the dialogue will not continue until the Colombian government recognizes that it is a negotiation.

Given the attitude adopted by Duque and his envoys, the Farmers’ Dignity leader Oscar Gutierrez also said that his organization will continue with the strike.

"It is up to the government to decide whether it wants to sit down to negotiate or not," he said.

The massive protests against Duque's neoliberal policies began on Nov. 21. Since then, the right-wing regime's response to social unrest has been based on the violent repression of protesters.

On Tuesday, a 26-year-old citizen, Cristian Rodriguez, lost an eye after receiving the impact of a projectile fired by the Mobile Riot Squadron (ESMAD), which tried to disperse a demonstration in front of the National University in Bogota.

The images of what happened were immediately reported by citizens through social media.

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