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News > Spain

Mass Protests Held Against Duque's Presence at Madrid Book Fair

  • Many people in Spain are protesting the arrival of Ivan Duque to the Madrid Book Fair, because they know that many writers who were going to go to this fair were censored and also because of the murder of countless young people.

    Many people in Spain are protesting the arrival of Ivan Duque to the Madrid Book Fair, because they know that many writers who were going to go to this fair were censored and also because of the murder of countless young people. | Photo: Twitter/@SoyUnPueblo2

Published 12 September 2021

In the midst of a very serious political and human rights crisis in Colombia that has set off all international alarms, President Iván Duque has visited Madrid on the occasion of the celebration of the Book Fair 2021, a visit that has been punctuated by numerous allegations of censorship of authors and books critical of the government.

Hundreds of protesters have come out Sunday to highlight that, ever since young people, organizations and social movements began the National Strike against Duque's tax reform in April, violence and brutal repression of the protests have left, as of June and according to figures from the Colombian State itself, some 51 people dead; more than 1000 people injured; hundreds of people missing; more than 100 cases of violence against women and 27 cases of sexual violence.

For its part, the civil society organization Temblores has counted up to 4,687 cases of police violence. Both the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and other social and international organizations have expressed their concern about the police actions and the urgency of an independent investigation of the abuses committed in the context of the mobilizations. In addition, President Ivan Duque has been denounced before the International Criminal Court and the United Nations for crimes against humanity.


Colombians Resume Protests Against President Duque

The illegitimate use of violence by the security forces and the army has been encouraged by irresponsible statements such as those of the former president and current Senator of the Democratic Center, President Duque's party, Álvaro Uribe, who stated on Twitter: "Let's support the right of soldiers and police to use their weapons to defend their integrity and to defend people and property from the criminal action of vandalism terrorism". This tweet was later removed by the social network because it incited and legitimized violence.

The context of these mobilizations have occurred in a generalized climate of impunity and lack of implementation of the 2016 Peace Accords that has led the country to the highest levels of human rights violations and assassinations of social leaders and human rights defenders worldwide.

This climate of impunity responds to a lack of political will in the investigation of these crimes and the links of these crimes to the economic interests of Colombian elites. Added to this is the fact that Colombia is one of the most unequal countries in the world, something that the policies of the current Duque government, the COVID-19 pandemic and the deficient management of the crisis have only aggravated.

For all these reasons, the Spanish political party, Podemos, has reiterated its solidarity with the victims and their families, as well as our support to the Colombian people in their demands for justice, peace, democracy, rights and social justice.

"People mobilize in Madrid against the arrival of Iván Duque to the Book Fair. - For the censorship of writers.
- For the assassinations of social leaders. - For the murders in the #ParoNacional. - For unemployment, hunger and violence in our country."

On the occassion of Duque's visit to Madrid, protesters are urging the government of Iván Duque to investigate the crimes and put an end once and for all to impunity, including making possible the conditions for a social pact, through a national dialogue leading to a peaceful and negotiated solution to the conflict.

Podemos argues that the State must address the root causes of the mobilizations, listen to the demands of the citizenry and undertake a profound reform of the police forces and the Army to overcome the persistence of the logic of armed conflict in the response to social mobilization.

Similarly the political formation has formally requested the Duque government to implement the protection and security plan for leaders and members of political organizations declared in opposition, to which it has been committed by the Statute of the Opposition for four years.

Protesters Sunday called on the government of Spain and the entire international community not to look the other way in the face of the abuses mentioned above; to defend the urgency of the investigations and to examine compliance with the human rights provisions of the trade and cooperation agreements signed with Colombia.

Those mobilizing in Madrid believe that the Spanish government and the European Union must remain at the height of the values it claims to defend in its foreign policy, adopting an active role in the defense of human rights in the brother country and in the efforts to ensure free, fair and transparent elections next year, 2022, that allow Colombians to choose their future with democratic guarantees.


Ivan Duque
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