Yesterday we reported on the repression of the indigenous in Colombia and the strike wave of workers in the juridical and sugar cane sectors. Today, we have received reports of further repression and a call for a national strike on 23 October against the state of emergency. We call for solidarity with the Colombian workers and peasants that are facing repression.
Colombia is the bastion of U.S. Imperialism in Latin America. The Colombian military is trained and equipped by its American counter-part. The excuse that is used is the ongoing war against the FARC guerrilla, which we've written about before (see Colombia: From Capitalist horror without end to the struggle for Socialism parts one, two and three). The Colombian government is the main agent of U.S. imperialism imperialism in the area, threatening the governments of both Venezuela and Ecuador with its heavily armed army. Only a couple of months ago, Uribe, in the aftermath of victories against the FARC guerrillas, seemed to be riding high in popularity. Now, he has to resort to force to quell dissent even in the state apparatus itself.
Now, the masses of workers and peasants in Colombia are starting to mobilize. The government of Uribe has been forced to declare a state of emergency and unleash the repressive powers of the state. The para-militaries and the police have been conducting a campaign of assassinations against indigenous leaders and trade union activists for some time, which will now most likely be stepped up.
We have reports of 70 injured in clashes between the security forces and the indigenous peoples in the state of Cauca where 8,000 people gathered on Sunday to demand that Uribe explain his unfulfilled promises of land and the violence against indigenous leaders. Some reports claim that 20,000 or so are gathered there at the moment in an assembly (minga) to discuss the repression against the indigenous leaders.
The indigenous groups are joined in their calls for a stop to the violence by the trade unions. The CUT confederation is now calling for a day of action today and a one day general strike on 23 October against Uribe's invocation of emergency powers. We support these actions wholeheartedly.
The strike in the juridical system, which has been going on for 42 days, involves 32,000 workers and has crippled the country's judicial system, is the reason that the government of Uribe has given for the declaration of the state of emergency. The workers are demanding the independence of the judiciary from the government and salary increases. They have refused to submit in spite of the measures taken against them.
The heroic workers of Colombia have called for international solidarity – a request that we fully support. We ask our supporters to carry out solidarity activities.
Down with U.S. Imperialism!
Recall the state of emergency!