For the last NotiAndina, we wanted something out of the complex national reality that we are living. We do it now, through the international web, with other data that help us to contextualize and understand something more about this very complex reality that surrounds the country.

Many views have been offered to us in this second month of what has been going on in Colombia with unemployment and which has different edges, a process that dates back 30 years and more, backward. With the national strike that began on April 28 with massive demonstrations nationwide, with constant mobilizations and blockades that function as concentration points for permanent demonstrations, until May 26, 2,577 road blockades had occurred. The departments with the highest number of blockades have been: Huila, Quindío, Meta, Valle del Cauca, Nariño, and Norte de Santander. Until May 26, 794 municipalities in the 32 departments of Colombia took place: 5,264 concentrations, 1,998 marches, 554 mobilizations, and 21 assemblies.

This expression goes through phases and, from a national strike with the antecedents manifested in the previous year 2020, it became "a national conversation" for the government of President Duque.

AS THE NEAREST CAUSES ARE MENTIONED:

 - The failure of the national government to comply with the peace accords is clear and visible and this reading has been clear since he was elected. They voted for him to prevent the left from becoming president. But the victory was not very distant from the other votes.

- The Colombian State is on a streak of non-compliance with national agreements agreed upon years ago. This has been creating a logic of constant unemployment to remind you of the above and so on. The 2019 strike certainly created a great deal of mistrust.

- The growth of hunger, poverty, unemployment, and the lack of a future came together. In such a way that it became a "real social outburst". As soon as this strike took place, the government opened the dialogue for the political parties, including a new one called the "movement of hope"— and the way it responded has been misguided: it does not listen to the people, former President Uribe's reprisals against decisions made by President Duque, and what the state has shown is a "repression" that had not been seen in the country for a long time.

 

It is true that the demonstrators had acts of violence and vandalism also against the public service and other private and personal property, but the greatest repression has been exercised by the State in the places of demonstration, with regrettable balances for the dead people, missing victims, damage to property...

SOME FEATURES OF THIS SOCIAL OUTBURST:

- As of 26 May, there had been 2,577 immobilization points called "blockades", with very significant and unexpected expressions for the same strike committee.

- The State records, from this highly repressive attitude, the majority of events in Cali and Valle del Cauca. With the disappearance of people within the social protest. In a few days, there have been disappearances, the number of which continues to grow.

- All this complicates the situation (assaults and injuries) also for the forces of the State, acts of sexual violence, censorship of the alternative press. the media (Caracol and RCN) wore narratives against the Indians, according to analysts from the Justice and Peace Commission Colombia - CRC.

- There has been a lot of human rights violations. Thus, unemployment has put us in a negative impact for all the damage it caused.

- The bulk of people in the mobilizations are young people who are willing to continue with them because they no longer have anything to lose because of the same reality in which they live. To the point that, in the blockade, they have some food "guaranteed by the community pot". If they go home they have nothing to eat.

 

The young people who are on the streets are children of the conflict who know nothing about agriculture. THERE IS NO CEILING FOR THE FUTURE FOR MANY PEOPLE, NEITHER FOR ACCESS TO UNIVERSITIES NOR FOR WORK. Crime is pouring into young people. They kill them, they disappear since the 80s, starting with Medellin and then passing through other Colombian cities.

All this is the result of what we have been cultivating in the country for more than 30 years. Already the presidency of Mr. Gaviria, whose motto was "welcome to the future", opened the market and the neoliberal economy made crisis. Many domestic companies had to close because they could not compete. Health was privatized and then this was reinforced by President Uribe in his 8 years of presidency. So, we are living that future foretold with a 30-year constitution that opened up a lot of hope because differences, civil liberties, fundamental rights, guardianships were recognized; but economically the model made crisis...

NEGATIVE IMPLICATIONS OF THESE DEMONSTRATIONS:

- The area where the problem has been felt most strongly is in the Valley, because in the Pto. of Buenaventura there was a lot of animal feed. So why are we buying food outside while the peasant in the area is condemned to coca cultivation? In fact, there was serious looting.

- The economy has been further affected. Several companies have had to make new layoffs of workers.

- There is no single representative center in this situation. The Unemployment Committee does not represent the vast majority of all Colombians without work or young people on the streets. It therefore suggests the opening of both national and territorial dialogue tables.

In Cali, after much mistrust like the one that has occurred, the role of Archbishop Dario Monsalve is like a positive mitigating factor.

 

WHAT WAYS TO GET OUT OF THESE COULD BE SEEN?

Serious problems must be addressed in the country:

- That of hunger. Tearing down tax reform has already been a gain from unemployment. But, of course, that does not solve the problem. The state needs structural reform based on this.

- Employment problem. The government has to work for the generation of employment, private enterprise, but decent jobs. You can't go on with starvation wages. This is also the way through the corruption we are experiencing.

- Problem of the study. The government gave tuition at 0 cost for strata 1 to 3. But that does not expand the coverage. There are areas of the country that do not have access to the University.

- Health problem. Overturning the health care reform must also be recognized as an early victory for unemployment. But we're back to the same thing. The vast majority of the people do not have access to health services. People are already starting to die for lack of minimal attention. This, coupled with the collapse of the pandemic, has further exacerbated the problem.

 

 

WHAT HAS THE GOVERNMENT DONE ACCORDING TO THE CONTEXTUALIZATION OF THE JYP COMMISSION?

The national government has played the same traditional political card and this does not give much hope. There is no interlocutor. President Duque has given answers outside of a negotiating table and has dismissed some agreed decisions.

AT THE LEVEL OF THE CHURCH AND OF RELIGIOUS LIFE, WHAT ACTIONS CAN WE TAKE? There is a lot to do on our part:

- Accompany society at this juncture.

- Denounce disrespect for human rights.

- Give life and presence from the Justice and Peace Commission – CRC and hopefully united to other agencies.

- Become part of being a guarantee, generate trust through mediations. To do this, we need to be part of the reality of the mobilizations.

- Access to global and integral views of reality. We cannot continue to play into the polarisations and rigged news of the most visible channels of our information. The Gospel is very clear, it is in favor of the most unprotected.

- Given the hopelessness that is already beginning to take hold of a large part of the population, what can be done? Something different will have to be invented for the government to decide to open the door.

Could the boycott not be used?

- Deepen the faith and political dimension and have concrete actions.

- Help other people to make a more even-handed analysis of reality and from those most affected.

- Reject violence in everyday life and in the streets.

- Make a credible reading of reality... and trust in God who accompanies his people.

St. John invites us every day to "love one another as Jesus loves us," who tells us, "I no longer call you servants but friends..."  Jesus makes no distinction between people. We are invited to sing a new song of reconciliation, peace, and justice in our country; and this asks us to accept his word and travel in daily life through concrete paths of love, for which Monsignor Rueda Aparicio proposed three paths:

- Respect for the life of every person, without distinction of any kind.

- Sincere and fraternal dialogue, fostering the capacity for listening and empathy in order to embrace difference. Know how to make silence to listen from the deep

- And the search for the common good, starting from the poorest and most vulnerable, both in the countryside and in the city.

We appreciate the affection and fraternal closeness of Graciela and Dayse, like that of so many sisters in the face of this complex panorama that we live in the country and that, at times, exacerbates a pain of homeland that has already been in our beloved Colombia for many years. And, yes or yes, it asks us all for concrete actions and for the good of all, especially in the face of the victims of so much inequality...  May the Holy Spirit of God invade us, open paths of dignity for all, and grant us his Peace.

Hijas de Jesús in Colombia                               

           

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