Solidarity Statement with the People of Colombia #StandWithColombia

Bayan condemns in the strongest words possible the open fire killing of street protesters in the City of Cali, one of the largest cities in Colombia where people have massed up by the thousands against the tax reform bill of the regime of President Ivan Duque amidst the second wave of the pandemic.

The tax reform bill  is meant to generate US$63 billion between 2022 to 2031 in order to finance public spending that will raise the economic status of Colombia in the Latin American region.

Although said bill had been recently withdrawn by President Duque, still the people say they would continue with their protests till there were meaningful changes in the economy, health and human rights.

Observers of the Colombian situation say that the country’s economy which was hit by the pandemic “has shrunk to 6,8% in 2020, its worst performance in half a century.”

Unemployment in this already impoverished country is now at 16.8% in March 2020, while half of the population of 50 million Colombians – majority of whom are indigenous people – live in poverty.   

Huge rallies have been held in other cities in the  country by the indigenous people who make up the majority of this country’s population, including the workers and the youth. Aggravating the situation is the pandemic which the Duque government is not serious in stemming, and instead is focusing on quelling the uprising by the people.

Fueling the anger of the people is the declaration of a state of martial law in the city of Cali, one of the largest cities in Colombia. There is curfew and a state of lawlessness committed by the brutal military unleashed by the Duque government.

Colombia has been wracked with a civil war of six decades, with the FARC, signing a peace deal with the Uribe government which later on reneged on its promises and killed leaders of FARC; The ELN or National Liberation Army is another group waging war in the countryside of Colombia.

Bayan condemns President Duque’s iron hand policy towards the people of Colombia with mounting death toll among street protesters, thousands injured in violent clashes between the military and the people in cities of Madellin and Bogota, arrests, torture, including disappearances.

The Duque government which is propped up by military assistance and economic aid by the US government, including the CIA, and backed up by the extreme right-wing Centro Democratico of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and the ultra conservative and current Vice President Martha Lucia Ramirez.

Our solidarity to the brave people of Colombia who are resisting this US-backed fascists attacks on the people!

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

May 09, 2021

Quezon City, Philippines

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