Friday, August 30, 2013

Colombia Farmer Strike

Farmers are striking in Bogotá with supporters, in part because of the effects of free trade agreements. Some of the protests are getting violent:

The protests have united potato growers and milk producers with teachers, health workers and students. 
They all converged on Bogota's main square, Plaza de Bolivar, on Thursday to make their grievances heard. 
"Long live the farmers' strike," they chanted, holding up protest banners. 
At Plaza de Bolivar some protesters wearing balaclavas clashed with riot police, who responded with tear gas. 
Businesses closed to prevent looting.
I understand the concern about violence, but President Santos' response (which he linked to on Twitter) seems very hardline.

Anoche ordené la militarización de Bogotá y de cualquier otro municipio o zona donde sea necesaria la presencia de nuestros soldados. Ordené también que se destinen 50 mil hombres de nuestras Fuerzas Militares para que trabajen, junto con la Policía, en garantizar la movilidad en nuestras carreteras", expresó el Mandatario en una alocución por radio y televisión.

Very quick recourse to "militarization" and "soldiers." He also cut off talks and said he would only talk to "real peasants" (verdaderos campesinos). Those who continue to disagree with him are apparently not real.


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