Cali takes on the cloak of Colombia’s “capital of resistance”

On the main street of Cali in Colombia, the names of anti-government demonstrators killed in recent weeks are written in large white letters: Nicolas G, Marcelo A, Jovita O, Yesung A, Christian M, Daniel A. , Jason G.

Most were under 25, and the youngest Jason Garcia was 13.

Colombia Violence in the last monthWhat started as a protest against. Tax reform Has evolved into a more radical call for a review of the country’s economic model. Protesters are angry at police atrocities, inequality, corruption, lack of opportunity, and many other issues. Ivan Duque’s hatred of the conservative government is clear.

Deaths are occurring all over the country, but the death toll in Cali, a city in the southwestern part of the country with a population of 2.3 million, and in the area surrounding Valle del Cauca is staggering.

Of the 66 people killed nationwide, 38 died in Cali and an additional 11 died in the area. According to Indepaz,Nongovernmental organization. In contrast, three people have died in the capital Bogotá, and only one is Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city. The number of deaths recognized by the Colombian government is small.

“Kali is the epicenter of dissatisfaction,” said Sebastián Lanz of Temblores, an NGO that monitors violence. “We have seen members of armed security forces attacking civilians exercising their legitimate demonstrative rights.”

Duque visited Cali on Friday to break the blockade of protesters and announce military deployments to restore peace.

Names of people killed in protest are written on the main street of Cali © Gideon Long / FT

It is arguable why Cali emerged as Colombia’s “capital of resistance.”

Many inhabitants blame poverty and inequality, Both soar In the midst of a pandemic, government statistics show that these issues are no worse than elsewhere in Colombia.

Another explanation is Drug tradingThe Cali Cartel in the 1990s was dismantled, but the city is flooded with cocaine and armed violent criminals rather than Bogotá and Medellín.

Kali’s homicide rate is 48 per 100,000 inhabitants, much higher than Bogotá (13) and Medellín (14), who have lost their reputation as Colombia’s homicide centers.

There is a lot of confusion about who is killing. NGOs state security forces are responsible for the majority of deaths. Police say they will never fire at peaceful protesters, but only at criminals, destroyers, and those who fired first.

The government has accused “terrorists,” “criminal groups,” and left-wing guerrillas. It describes the elements of the country’s traditional Marxist guerrilla group — Falk And ELN — Invaded the protest.

Map of Cali, Colombia

Former left-wing guerrilla and now Cali analyst Diego Arias says the claim is probably true. Therefore, Cali police face such heavy weapons and respond kindly.

“Kali police feel they are in a conflict zone rather than cracking down on protests,” he said. “And during the war, it fires directly at the enemy, not in the air.”

Juan Sebastián Briñez, a 22-year-old police officer who tried to stop people from looting in a supermarket in the poor Kali district of Calypso, was recently shot dead. “I’ve never seen anything like this or heard so many shootings,” said Marvin Risalda, a colleague at the hospital after recovering from the injury.

One of the more worrisome aspects of violence is the emergence of armed civilians firing at protesters. In early May, they Attacked a convoy carrying indigenous activists Approximately 10 people were injured in the city. The identity of the assailants has not been revealed, but locals have accused the thugs of being hired by drug traffickers.

There are other racial and ethnic aspects to protests. Cali has the largest black population in Colombia, and some protesters say city police are a racist agency.

Demonstration in Cali
Most of the demonstrations in Cali remain peaceful during the day © Gideon Long / FT

There are also loud and loud indigenous peoples in the southwest. On the first day of the protest, indigenous activists in Cali destroyed the statue of Sebastian Benalcasal, a Spaniard who conquered this part of Colombia in the 16th century.

Social media is full of information and false alarms. The gruesome video shows the body allegedly launched on the Cauca River. The body is believed to have been kidnapped during a protest. Hundreds of people have “disappeared,” according to demonstrators.

Despite all this, most protests are peaceful. In such a scene last week, thousands of people gathered in the park, which is the meeting place.

My parents brought small children. Protesters waved the Colombian flag. Feminists, indigenous activists, Afro-Colombians, students, and traditional leftists gathered in the scorching sun to hear speeches and music.

It was a festival-like atmosphere. Police were stuck and protesters quietly left at dusk.

“There have been attempts to stigmatize the protest and portray us all as destroyers, but there are people of all kinds here,” said 26, who spends time protesting and treating Covid-19 patients. Nurse Maria Alejandra Rosada said at a public hospital.

However, shooting and destruction begin at night. In the poor suburbs of Shiroe and Calypso, gunshots can be heard at night.Arsonist on Tuesday night Destroyed the judiciary court The nearby city of Tulua.

In recent days, there has been increasing opposition to violence and vandalism. Thousands in lab coats quietly marched through Cali on Tuesday, calling for reconciliation, bloodshed, and the end of the blockade.

However, there is no sign that the demo will end soon.

Mar Sanchez, one of the organizers of Cali’s protests, said, “We must move forward to maintain momentum.” We also have this enthusiasm created by the protests. You need to make sure it’s reflected in the 2022 elections. You can’t demo for a month, and then when the elections take place, you can’t vote for the same senior again. “

Cali takes on the cloak of Colombia’s “capital of resistance”

Source link Cali takes on the cloak of Colombia’s “capital of resistance”

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