Target: Javier Correa Velez, Head of Dignidad Cafetera
Goal: Support Colombian strikers and their protest against poverty, globalization, and privatization
What started as a rural peasant uprising has now evolved into a nation-wide strike against a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and its subsequent policies of privatization and poverty. Medical professionals, miners, farmers, teachers, and students have all joined in protest against right-wing President Juan Manuel Santos.
Demonstrators are speaking out against a whole range of issues that plague the Colombian people, including public policies that oppress workers, and specifically Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. The protested free trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia has forced small farmers to compete with U.S. food products, which are subsidized by the U.S.-backed right-wing government. This free trade policy has resulted in small farmers becoming more vulnerable to changes in the market, and diminished their protections from social services. Medical professionals are demonstrating against a new wave of reforms that will deplete and privatize Colombia’s healthcare system. But these specific issues are not the only thing the Colombian people have to struggle against; they also have to contend with police brutality just for exercising their right to protest. This uprising of 200,000 people has been largely ignored by the English-speaking media.
Free trade agreements have historically brought about horrific economic situations for already marginalized people. By signing the petition bellow, you will be showing your support for this mass uprising of the Colombian people and their struggle against violence, oppression, and poverty.
Dear Javier Correa Velez,
I support your inspiring display of dissent against the oppressive policies that perpetuate and enforce poverty, privatization, and globalization. I stand with you in the condemnation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which has forced small farmers to compete with subsidized U.S. food products. The effects of this free trade policy have left small farmers vulnerable to fluctuations in the market, and without the social safety nets to protect them from these vulnerabilities.
I also support miners’ protest against governmental hand outs to international mining companies, while local miners are banned and roadblocked from mines. I commend the medical professionals’ fight against reforms to privatize and gut the country’s healthcare system, as well as the truckers’ fight for fairer wages. I hope your demands are met and that Colombia emerges from this uprising a country for the people, and not for profit.
It is devastating to read reports of police brutality in the form of unnecessary arrests, use of tear gas, shootings, torture, sexual assault, and false allegations of terrorism made by Colombia’s Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon. I stand in solidarity with your efforts to fight against the devastation wrought by free trade agreements, privatization, and poverty.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Public Citizen via Flickr