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News > Colombia

Colombia: Red Rags on Windows to Protest Amid Quarantine

  • A red rag placed on a door. The sign reads, 'If you have something left over, donate it.' Colombia, April, 2020.

    A red rag placed on a door. The sign reads, 'If you have something left over, donate it.' Colombia, April, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @marialunada

Published 16 April 2020

"We're not going to die of coronavirus but starvation," is the phrase summarizing the situation.

Faced with the inability of President Ivan Duque administration to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, Colombians are displaying red cloths on windows to express their dissatisfaction.


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​​​​"They said to take out red rags if people needed help. Today the red rag seems to be the new flag in the most humble neighborhoods. Hunger is not quarantined," said cartoonist Alex Ro, as reported by local outlet Las2Orillas.

The red rags placement started in some Spanish cities to notify that the inhabitants of a house had some kind of urgent need.

This idea reached Colombia, a South American country where the first reports of red-rag users happened in Soacha city, in the department of Cundinamarca.

Promoted by the mayor of this municipality in late March, this signal was initially aimed at warning that a vulnerable family had an urgent and unmet need.

"Red rags are seen in cities like Bogota, Barranquilla, and Medellin. People have waited patiently for government aid... However, the despair is so great that protests throughout the country occurred this Wednesday," local outlet MC explained and reported that banners say, "We are not going to die of coronavirus but starvation."

In Bosa, Porvenir, people wave red rags and sing the Colombian anthem to ask for help. They have no resources to survive in quarantine.

This new form of social protest is accompanied by calls to bang empty saucepans at certain times of the day against President Duque and his officials.

"Applauses on balconies and terraces in honor of the health workers were replaced by the sound of empty saucepans as a sign of hunger," local outlet El Tiempo reported.

The Medellin mayor Daniel Quintero distributed 170,000 food aid vouchers to families that did not have cash transfers from the national government.

However, his initiative has not solved their situation because the Duque administration's subsidy is insufficient and is not reaching its beneficiaries.

“That bond doesn't last long and it didn't come. And we're just going to start the second quarantine. We no longer have money,” a Carpinelo neighborhood social leader said.

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