In different parts of the country, with their native customs, Colombia's indigenous peoples express their rejection of militarization, abuses in the countryside, exclusion, and mismanagement of the pandemic.
The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) makes an urgent appeal to the international community, the brothers of Abya Yala, and the democrats of the world to continue to publicly express their concern via their respective diplomatic channels acts of violence in this South American nation.
Colombian Indigenous Groups Topple Statue of Spanish Conqueror
In addition, to intercede with the Colombian government to cease the war-like treatment given to social protest.
ONIC also requests that verification missions be strengthened to gather accurate information on the vulnerability and multiple violations of the human right to life and integrity of all Colombians.
The collective of ancestral peoples of Colombia denounced the violence in the country unleashed by the "disproportionate actions of the National Police and in particular by the Esmad (anti-riot squads)."
"We have suffered for more than 60 years the rigors of war, in addition to the effects that, in all senses, the pandemic now leaves, we see with pain how the whole country becomes a victim because what is threatened is democracy," it emphasizes.
ONIC adds that Colombia is a society that has bet on peace and at the same time emphasizes that the acts of vandalism that have occurred during the protest do not represent them.
"Nor can we accept the lack of empathy of this government and its inability to understand that inequality, hunger, and poverty also lead to despair and hopelessness and much less naturalize that the response to these events is state violence," he remarks.
ONIC demands that Congress, the Attorney General's Office, and the Ombudsman's Office act within the framework of their constitutional and legal duties and investigate the facts that mourn the lives of Colombians, which corroborate the urgency of a profound reform that dismantles the Military Security Doctrine according to which the people are an internal enemy.
On Friday, indigenous Colombians in Bogota toppled a statue of Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada, a 16th-century Spanish conquistador, and founder of the capital, amid massive protests against the government of Ivan Duque.
Photos released on social networks show a group of indigenous people from the Misak community on top of the empty pedestal while the monument lies on the ground with a broken arm.
Protesters waved Guambiano flags, of the original peoples of the Cauca department, early in the morning.
"He was historically the greatest massacrator, torturer, thief, and rapist of our women and children," the indigenous people said in a statement.
According to the bulletin from Jiménez de Quesada, "descend elite families" of Colombia that "have reproduced the great problems" of the country such as "the Tax Reform presented a few days ago by the government" and "defeated (...) by all the peoples united in the mobilizations."
Hundreds of thousands of people have been protesting for ten days against the government of Iván Duque. What started as a mobilization in rejection of a tax reform already withdrawn has become one of the largest demonstrations against the conservative president.
The demonstrations have been mostly peaceful. There have been riots and clashes with the public forces in some cities, leaving at least 26 dead and hundreds injured.
The protest recalls the images of statues of slavers and colonizers torn down in the United States, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Martinique, within the framework of the demonstrations triggered after the death of the African-American George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman.
In Colombia, indigenous people in the southwest of the country have toppled at least three monuments to conquistadors since September 2020.
Indigenous peoples in this region of Colombia are engaged in a historical dispute over land. The native peoples also face violence from groups financed by drug traffickers.
The Quesada statue was erected in 1960 in downtown Bogotá.