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  • General view of Bolivar Square during the national strike called today in Bogota, Colombia. October 21, 2020.

    General view of Bolivar Square during the national strike called today in Bogota, Colombia. October 21, 2020. | Photo: EFE/Carlos Ortega

Published 21 October 2020
Opinion

The Social Minga in Bogota joined the National Strike that is taking place this Wednesday in Colombia with the aim of "defending life and democracy, protesting against violence and demanding the negotiation of the national emergency document.

Colombia woke up on Wednesday with a new national strike in the country's main cities, amidst the coronavirus crisis and the increase in the numbers of massacres and murders of social leaders and former members of the then Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army (FARC-EP).

The president of the Central Workers Union (CUT), Diógenes Orjuela, explained that the strike would clarify the position of absolute rejection of the massacres and murders that have occurred in the country in recent months, as well as the repression exercised by the police.

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He also stressed that the protests would condemn the management of President Ivan Duque and the emergency decrees issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, the disregard for social organizations, and the rulings issued by the judicial sector.

Among the demands will also be the emergency document discussion, which includes 104 points and raises the need for a basic income, the protection of women and vulnerable sectors, support for small and medium enterprises, and the repeal of Decree 1174 regarding the social protection floor.

" At this moment, the mobilizations in Bogotá and different cities of the country are advancing; in Colombia's capital, the social and indigenous Minga is also marching together with the social movements and labor unions."
 
Supported by student groups, peasant organizations, women, Afro-descendant and LGBTI communities, the mobilizations will be peaceful and democratic and take place in a single concentration point in each of the cities, the CUT clarified.
 
These will coincide with the indigenous peaceful protest march (minga), concentrated in Bogotá with the idea of holding a face-to-face meeting with Duque, something that has been impossible to date given the leader's constant refusals.
" Why are we joining the October 21st National Strike? Here are some of the reasons from the National Strike Committee."
 

The indigenous communities are demanding an end to the violence, an intensification of the fight against poverty, and compliance with the 2016 Peace Accords, signed by the State and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP).

Its leaders intend to present the demands to President Duque in a direct dialogue, without mediators. Still, everything seems to indicate that the meeting will never occur, despite the intentions of the minga to remain concentrated in the capital until its objectives are achieved.

All of these protest movements occur at a time of high tension for Colombia because of the increasingly frequent massacres of social leaders and activists in the country.

Furthermore, on the issue of the COVID-19, the coffee-producing nation is the seventh most infected country on the planet, only behind the United States, India, Brazil, Russia, Spain, and Argentina, due primarily to the poor response of the government.

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