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Current events :: Strikes
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For over one month, Colombia's workers and poor have taken to the streets against the repressive capitalist government of President Ivan Duque. And although the initial cause of the unrest, a deeply regressive tax hike, has been withdrawn, the combination of over 75,000 deaths from Covid-19 amidst growing mass poverty and widening class inequalities, continues to fuel the protests.
Many protesters have paid a high price at the hands of repressive state forces, which have deployed lethal firepower. According to human rights groups, over 40 protesters have been killed by the police and, according to the government, two police officers have also been killed.
At the epicentre of the protest movement - the city of Cali - the Colombian army has been sent in by Duque to smother the opposition.
The trade union movement called workers out for a second general strike last week. Negotiations for meaningful government reforms - conducted on behalf of the protesters through the National Strike Committee, comprising major unions and student groups - have moved at a snail's pace.
Colombia has experienced two years of unrest on top of decades of civil war. Clearly, a weak capitalist ruling class tied to the apron strings of imperialism has utterly failed the impoverished majority. Only the building of a mass revolutionary party, based on the working class, and with a programme for socialist change, can offer a way out of this impasse.
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Article dated 2 June 2021
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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