Statement from the Movimiento Ecosocialista de Colombia

To the escalation of massacres that, in just two months, has reached 47 cases in various regions of the country, we must add the one that occurred on the night of 9 September, when eight (8) young people, including a minor, were killed by the police, who fired on hundreds of demonstrators who were burning clothes in front of the neighbourhood police units called Comandos de Acción Inmediata (CAI) to protest against the murder of lawyer Javier Ordoñez, detained and killed by blows and electric shocks by a police patrol in the vicinity of the Villa Luz neighbourhood in the city of Bogotá. The wounded already number more than two hundred. The protests were called by social networks once the recordings in which the cruelty and brutality with which the police officers acted against Javier Ordoñez could be observed.

This massacre is part of a chain of murders, attacks and systematic violations of human rights by the police force throughout the country. The repression of popular mobilizations accounts for many deaths in different parts of the national territory. Citizen complaints of beatings and rapes of women, in the same CAI, occur daily. The police force and its repressive behaviour are part of an institutional framework built around a state terror policy, formalized in the doctrine of the “internal enemy” that results in the criminalization and repression of legitimate social protest and of the daily mobilization of citizens.

The Movimiento Ecosocialista de Colombia (Ecosocialist Movement of Colombia) rejects the media justification designed by the elites, according to which responsibility for the events that occurred in the country's capital should be attributed to “vandals” who must be prosecuted. This is a fallacy that tries to hide the responsibility for official violence. We join the voices from popular and human rights organizations proposing a profound reform of the National Police, to turn it into a civil entity, adding that a reform of these characteristics should be only one component of an integral modification that aims to dismantle state terror and the impunity that accompanies it. We support the proposal for the immediate resignation of the Minister of Defence and the acting commander of the Bogotá Police.

The 9 September mobilizations were mostly youth. They show not only the anger against the police repression, but also the repudiation of the social marginalization to which millions of young people who lack education and work have been subjected. The way the Duque government has managed the pandemic produced by Covid-19 increases this youthful rejection. The delivery of enormous resources from the public budget to bankers and big businessmen, while denying resources to hospitals, health centres and a population increasingly impoverished by economic paralysis, synthesizes the action. The AVIANCA case is emblematic. The national government has just authorized the delivery of 370 million dollars to a bankrupt aviation company that has legal status in Panama to evade taxes, administered by US banks, drawing resources from the budget fund created to mitigate the social effects of the pandemic, while the population experiences great difficulties in subsisting.

The Movimiento Ecosocialista de Colombia shares the indignation and recognizes the social legitimacy of the protests that took place on 9 September in Bogotá and those that have been taking place in recent weeks throughout the country against so much injustice and barbarism. We consider it urgent to coordinate efforts among all of us who are interested in changing the current state of affairs to unify pressing demands such as universal basic income, increased public spending on health, taxes on large fortunes, employment plans and financing to small and medium-sized companies, the dismantling of ESMAD, among others. [[ESMAD is a Colombian National Police riot control unit specialized in controlling public disturbances.]]

The Movimiento Ecosocialista calls for international solidarity. We consider it urgent to declare Colombia a humanitarian emergency, given the scale of the massacres that have been taking place in the country with absolute impunity, and the indiscriminate repression carried out by the Police Force as part of a state terror policy and practice. Statements by United Nations officials or international institutions responsible for monitoring human rights violations condemning these events are not enough. Urgent and substantive measures are required.

We call on social, popular, democratic organizations, and citizens in every part of the world, to understand the seriousness of the humanitarian tragedy suffered by the Colombian population, and to express their solidarity; and to demand that the international community take measures commensurate with the seriousness of the events that have been occurring in the country.

Long live the revolution of the peoples and those who fight !!!

Movimiento Ecosocialista de Colombia

10 September, 2020

Same author