This statement by the PSL, a member of the Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment, was initially released under the title “The workers’ and popular rebellion in Colombia points the way forward.” It was written in solidarity with the Colombian people as they embarked on a general strike on May 5. The continuing mass resistance in Colombia is a beacon for all workers and oppressed in our hemisphere.
The working class and popular unity building today in Colombia has succeeded in stopping a proposed regressive tax-reform proposal and obtained a cabinet resignation. It now aims its fire at “el paquetazo” (the still-pending legislation mobilization to undermine labor law and destroy the healthcare and retirement systems). Moreover, the current uprising is challenging the whole neoliberal project of hunger and state repression, the hallmark of the regime initiated by the former president Alvaro Uribe, which continues today under the presidency of Iván Duque.
Current events in Colombia began on Nov. 21, 2019, with a massive general strike accompanied by street mobilizations in all the main cities. This outpouring of resistance was disrupted by the emergence in 2020 of the Covid virus; but the popular rage remained and exploded on April 28 when the trade union federations — CUT, CTC, CGT and Fecode (the Teachers’ Federation) — called for a second national strike. The call was supported by social movements and student, Indigenous, urban and peasant community organizations.
This strike turned into a national workers and popular uprising with roadblocks, confrontations with state repressive forces, and massive mobilizations that continue today, and whose outcome has yet to be determined.
At the outset, the government of President Iván Duque tried to crush the protests with violent repression by the armed forces supported by the members of the U.S. Yankee army stationed in Colombia. This has resulted in many deaths and disappearances.
But the masses remain unintimidated and refuse to back down. They redoubled their actions and achieved a preliminary victory on May 2 when the government announced that it was withdrawing the entire neoliberal tax-reform law.
In addition, the Minister of Finance, Alberto Carrasquilla, the author of this law, was forced to resign. Currently Daniel Palacios, the Minister of the Interior, is under investigation for ordering the savage state repression of protesters.
Meanwhile, the Colombian people remain in the streets demanding more!
The trade union confederations, together with social, political, peasant, student and Indigenous organizations have called for a third general strike for May 5. This strike represents a challenge to the Colombian regime that is closely allied with U.S. imperialism.
The demands of the general strike include freedom for all the political prisoners, punishment for those responsible for the state repression and the resignation of President Duque. Surely the reactionary forces of international capital will utilize their agencies to attempt to quell the mass mobilizations and prop up this disastrous regime.
Only workers and a popular government based on the democratic organization of all the mobilized sectors will be able to provide fundamental solutions to the demands that the Colombian masses continue to develop in the streets. We call for international solidarity with the struggle of the Colombian people.
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