top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Response to state violence in Colombia exposes western hypocrisy yet again

Updated: May 15, 2021

The mass popular uprising in Colombia that arose out of an April 28 general strike against a proposed tax reform bill continues, though it is being met with increasing state violence and repression. Even as the bill has been withdrawn this has not stopped the protests in what is becoming an "open challenge to Colombia’s authoritarian neoliberal order" as an article in Jacobin described it.

So far, as of this past weekend, at least 471 people have gone missing during the protests, there have been at least 900 arbitrary arrests by the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) and the Colombian Army, and at least 47 people have been killed, 39 of them by state authorities. On Sunday twelve "members of an indigenous Minga were injured, at least four with serious bullet wounds, after being shot by armed men in plain clothing on Sunday afternoon in the city of Cali, Valle del Cauca, during the 12th day of mass mobilizations."

On May 11 a Man Shot Eight Times In Anti-Government Protests Died. On Sunday, "over a dozen protesters were wounded after they were attacked by unknown armed assailants who demanded protesters end the blockade of major highways during a series of Indigenous-led actions in Cali. Right-wing President Iván Duque on Monday announced more security forces would be deployed to Cali and urged Indigenous leaders to leave the city."

The actions of government forces have been referred to the International Criminal Court.

Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez and former Bolivian President Evo Morales are among many prominent global leaders and organizations to have condemned the government violence.

Yet the Canadian press and Canadian government has remained essentially silent.

When Indigenous Governor Sandra Liliana Peña was killed in Cauca, Colombia in April she was "at least the 52nd social leader killed this year and over 1,100 activists and land defenders have been killed since the 2016 peace deal was signed."

Imagine if this had happened in Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba or any other country targeted by western imperialism.

If you ever had any doubt that the Lima Group, Canada, the United States and other western and pro-imperialist countries really never cared about "democracy" or civil rights at all you need only look at their non-existent response to the extreme state violence in Colombia and the basically total silence about it in the mainstream media.

Extreme state violence is just fine as long as the regime is right-wing, pro-business and supports the overthrow of socialist governments globally and regionally.



bottom of page