On Friday 15 March, Colombian President Gustavo Petro took to the streets of Cali. In the speech he delivered on the day, he proposed a constituent assembly as a route out of the various problems his presidency has encountered in attempting to pass the reforms for which he was elected.

In the last few weeks, there has been a growing offensive on the part of the Colombian ruling class against the government of Gustavo Petro. Some have even talked of the danger of a coup, like the one that removed Pedro Castillo in Peru in December last year. On 7 June, thousands of workers, peasants and youth came out onto the streets to defend Petro’s proposed reforms. Comrade Galeano – from Colombia Marxista, the IMT group in Colombia – draws a balance-sheet of these events.

A former leading paramilitary officer has given explosive, public testimony on the close collaboration between the right-wing thugs under his command and the Colombian capitalists and landowners, who for decades relied on these forces to terrorise the workers and peasants.

With 50.48 percent of the vote, Gustavo Petro and Francia Marquez have won the electoral contest in the Colombian presidential election against right-wing demagogue Rodolfo Hernandez. The historic significance of the victory of Petro, Marquez and the Pacto Histórico cannot be underestimated. Gustavo Petro has become the first leftist president in the history of Colombia. His presidency represents a turning point in the class struggle of a country in which the capitalist oligarchy has typically played the role of executioner with impunity.

Just as all of the polls predicted over the last three months, Gustavo Petro led the first round of voting for the Colombian presidential election with an astonishing 8.5 million votes (40 percent). Sadly, despite Petro’s own prediction, he did not manage to win the election outright in the first round by gaining a majority of 50 percent or more. And despite the predictions of many, Rodolfo Hernández, the right-wing demagogue who has used social networks as his main means of campaigning, managed to surpass


With the presidential elections in Colombia less than a week away, the ruling class has conducted an aggressive campaign of slander and threats with one objective: to prevent the election of Gustavo Petro, the centre-left candidate who leads the polls with a 38.8% voting intention. His nearest rival, the right-wing candidate Federico “Fico” Gutierrez has 24.6%. It is encouraging to note that the INVAMER poll in particular, found that Petro


On 13 March, Colombia held its legislative elections to the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as “consultative elections” (primaries) in which each coalition voted on its presidential candidate for this year’s presidential election. Gustavo Petro, the center-left candidate, earned the nomination for his coalition, Pacto Historico, with overwhelming support both within his party and among the general electorate.

The Colombian Paro Nacional [National Stoppage] has gone on for almost two months now. At its peak, 23 cities across the country saw uprisings against the government of Ivan Duque – a president seen by many as ex-president Alvaro Uribe’s puppet. Hundreds of thousands of workers and youth blocked the roads and marched through the streets of cities including Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Barranquilla.

All over the world, solidarity protests have been organised in support of the Colombian workers and youth, who are locked in battle with the reactionary regime of Iván Duque. Comrades of the IMT have intervened in these demonstrations to show their support for this inspiring struggle.

Colombia’s national strike has been ongoing for 13 days now and has managed to secure Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla’s resignation and the withdrawal of the tax reform. It is still going strong in the streets, its lungs filled with fresh air. The government attacks the movement in an attempt to destroy it, but it is all in vain; every injury it sustains arouses its fury, develops its consciousness and intensifies its resolve. It is a movement filled with the energy of change that draws strength from the dignity the people have been deprived of for so long.

The movement in Colombia that successfully beat back Duque’s tax theft is at a crucial juncture. Our Colombian comrades have written the following 10 theses for how the struggle must proceed. The logic of this fight is a struggle for power with the regime. The main slogan must be: Duque Out!

Yesterday, on 3 May, Alberto Carrasquilla, the main proponent of the Tax Reform, exited through the back door, resigning with Vice Ministers Juan Alberto Londoño (Finance) and Juan Pablo Zárate (Treasury). The pressure from the national strike – which has now gone on for six days – and the total bankruptcy of the Duque-Uribe government, have put these pen-pushing officials to the test. In underestimating the power of the masses, they have been utterly scorched by it.

After five days of furious protests across 23 cities in Colombia against Ivan Duque’s tax bill (an austerity package meant to make the workers pay for the results of the pandemic), the government has withdrawn the bill. This is an overwhelming victory for the working class. For five days, more than 50,000 protestors took to the streets of Bogotá (these are official numbers and are probably an underestimation), with the rest of the nation following suit, in protest against a law that would worsen the conditions of daily life.

The national strike movement of 21 November 2019 has resurfaced like a revived giant as of 28 April, initiating what is becoming one of the greatest struggles of this period: the National Strike against the Tax Reform. The principle demand arose from exasperation caused by this obnoxious law presented by the Ministry of Finance. But behind it, there runs a deep discontent fomented by a long list of abuses against the ever–more impoverished masses at the hands of the Duque government. With each passing day, the strikers are adding new demands, whether or not they appear on the official list of demands.

The Colombian workers and youth are trapped in a nightmare. The parasitic bourgeoisie has totally failed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, and has used the economic crisis as an excuse to carry out further cuts and attacks on the working class. Socialist struggle is needed to free Colombia from its unbearable condition.

Page 1 of 3