Winner 2013 Webby Awards for Best Political Website
Top Banner, Site wide
Apr 19, 2014

 Choose a size
Text Size

Top Leaderboard, Site wide

Drought Adds to Syria’s Misery

The Divide

Truthdig Bazaar
They Knew They Were Right

They Knew They Were Right

By Jacob Heilbrunn

more items

Ear to the Ground

Protests Rage Against Colombia’s Economic Policies

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Aug 30, 2013
John Mallon iphoneography (CC BY 2.0)

Students and labor unions armed with pots and pans marched alongside miners, truckers, coffee growers, milk producers and potato farmers in a general strike in Colombia on Thursday, where hard laborers have to endure such difficulties as high fuel prices and free trade agreements that farmers say have brought them to the edge of bankruptcy.

The protests began Aug. 19. Demonstrators joined striking miners to block some of the country’s main highways. The Guardian reported that at least one protester and one policeman died midway through the demonstrations Thursday. Inter Press Service counted two rural demonstrators dead and at least 250 people arrested. Among them was the head of the Fensuagro agricultural trade union, Huber Ballesteros.

President Juan Manuel Santos tried to play down the importance of the demonstrations, saying the “supposed national farmers’ strike does not exist.” He was forced to apologize for the remark, and subsequently sent out high level officials to open negotiations with different sectors.

“We recognise that the farmers’ protests respond to real needs and problems. We are listening to them and offering solutions,” the president said Wednesday night.

The Mesa de Interlocucion Agropecuaria Nacional, a national umbrella protest movement, presented a list of demands before a miners’ strike began. It called for solutions for the farmers’ crisis, including “access to land titles proving ownership; recognition of protected campesino territories; participation in decisions involving mining industry activity; guarantees for exercising political rights; and social spending and investment in infrastructure like roads in rural areas,” Inter Press Service reported.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Inter Press Service:

Since Monday Aug. 19, small farmers around the country have been on strike to protest that they cannot compete with low-price food products imported under free trade agreements with the United States (in effect since May 2012) and the European Union (in effect since Aug. 1). They are also complaining about rising fuel, transport and production costs.

Another target of the farmers’ protests is “Resolution 970”, passage of which was required by the U.S.-Colombia FTA, which protects genetically modified seeds under intellectual property rights, making the replanting of them a crime.

In addition, they are protesting large-scale mining projects that have been given the green light in agricultural regions, without consulting local communities as required by law.

Read more

More Below the Ad


Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.


sign up to get updates

Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.