CALI, Colombia—Over the last week Black organizations in Colombian have been engaged in a massive “civic strike” and resistance. The strike and ongoing mobilizations in Buenaventura, the country’s main port city, and the department of Choco was fueled by the ongoing human rights crisis that includes continued violence by paramilitary forces directed at black organizers and communities, lack of basis governmental services such as an uninterrupted supply of water, inadequate housing, forced displacement, police brutality and land thefts.
Buenaventura was shut down along with its port resulting in the loss of millions of pesos for the government. Instead of dialog with the people, the response from the government was to unleash ESMAD (National Security Forces) in an effort to open up the port and suppress the mobilizations that have seen tens of thousands take to the streets in Buenaventura and in Choco.
Now that the peaceful mobilizations are being violently repressed by the state, representatives of various black organizations including the Afro-Colombian National Council of Peace are calling on the international community to call for an end to the repression and a dialog with the communities to address the demands of the people.
Charo Mina-Rojas, a member of the national leadership and international coordinator of the Black Community Process and Afro-Colombian National Council of Peace as well as a member of the Ethnic Commission is available to discuss the situation in Colombia.
According to Charo Mina-Rojas, “it is important for the international community to understand, and especially the black communities of the U.S. because of the support the Colombian government receives from the U.S., that the peace process touted by Colombian President Juan Santos in his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump has not resulted in peace or security for Black people in Colombia.
Contact: Charo Mina-Rojas
57 314 370 8931