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(en) Czech, oafed: Anarchism is flourishing in Colombia

Date Thu, 10 Jun 2021 09:14:28 +0300

We talked with Colombian anarcho-syndicalists from the Unión Libertaria Estudiantil y del Trabajo (ULET) not only about the current protests against tax reform, but also about the role of the United States in supporting paramilitary governments and the role of anarchists. ---- 1) Colombia has been rioting unrest against tax "reform" for the past two months. What exactly is its content? ---- The tax reform was introduced by the Colombian government, in particular former Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla. ---- Since the inauguration of Ivan Duque, two tax reforms have been implemented, the second of which is key. As part of this reform, taxes were abolished for the country's richest families, large companies and multinational companies, with the alleged goal of supporting job creation, which today exceeds 16% and is still growing. However, these tax advantages provided to large domestic and foreign capital assumed a widening of the fiscal deficit by more than 9 billion Colombian pesos, ie more than 2 billion euros, which the state would cease to receive as a result of this reform.

Due to this deficit, the government launched the third reform this year, which caused a social storm and in which VAT was imposed to cover this deficit on the entire basic family consumer basket, ie meat, eggs, bread, coffee, and also fuel. In addition, it extended taxation to the middle class through income tax, without renewing the contributions of the richest classes, companies and multinational corporations.

In other words, the entire working class, both rural and urban, from the poorest segment to the highest-income segment, would pay the deficit that the government itself created in favor of the capitalist elite.

2) Police killed dozens of people and injured hundreds during demonstrations. Does it have any political consequences? How does abroad react to this?

As of the date of this interview, 53 people have been killed by nationals, 22 people have been the victim of sexual violence by security forces, 47 people have been attacked in front of their eyes, 1445 people have been illegally detained, 342 people have disappeared and more than 3402 people have been victims of police violence .

There are almost no political consequences for the entire state structure, which is committing violent repression. The level of impunity is absolute. The parliamentary opposition initiated a motion of censure on Defense Minister Diego Molan, which was not approved due to a blockade by the governing coalition parties. Only human rights NGOs remained under the surveillance and recording of elements of state terrorism unleashed by Ivan Duque.

The Human Rights Foundation has therefore called for the arrest of Ivan Duque for crimes against humanity, but we see that we will not receive justice for the victims of repression in the foreseeable future.

Abroad, they are trying to understand what is happening so that they can take a clear stand on the government, even though international public opinion has turned its attention to the crimes committed by the State of Israel against the Palestinian people and forgotten the dire situation of the people in Myanmar and Colombia.

3) President Iván Duque has several alternatives to deal with the situation. What are they and which of them is likely?

Iván Duque Márquez was a politician chosen by Álvaro Uribe Vélez - known in Colombia as Matarife - to pursue his far-right - fascist - neoliberal and paramilitary policies. Obedience to a geopolitical agenda that is in line with US interests.

For the Colombian people, therefore, Ivan Duque is Uribe's puppet, in every sense of the word.

That is why Duque chose a policy of military and counter-terrorism to address the crisis, opposed the recognition of the causes of social protests, delayed dialogue with one of the bureaucratic sectors involved in social mobilization through governors and mayors, and encouraged the use of weapons by armed civilians. .

This means that their plan was not absolute repression, but dialogue and negotiation of the social concessions demanded by the people.

Most likely, the creation of new paramilitary groups as an irregular armed wing of the state to suppress protests, while the Democratic Center government reorganizes, overcomes its unpopularity and tries to find a new candidate for the 2022 presidential election without giving in to demands. lidu.

4) Will there be a planned football championship in connection with the riots?

In Colombia and Argentina, the South American football championship - Copa America will not take place. He seems to be moving to Brazil, a country facing a terrible tragedy over COVID19 and Jair Bolsonar's fascist policies. The result could be a social explosion of Brazilians.

5) What is the position of the army regarding reform. Is it uniform?

The Colombian armed forces have been indoctrinated for decades in anti-communist, counter-insurgency and fascist struggle, in line with the interests of the country's ruling classes and the US.

That is why the army officially sided with Ivan Duque and Uribism, because it was she who murdered the peasants for more than 10 years, then disguised them as guerrillas and declared that they were victims of the fighting to justify military aid. USA, and therefore more than 6402 people were killed. In Colombia to this there is the term "crime of false victims".

6) According to some media, the situation is also affected by FARC insurgents. Is it true?

Following the conclusion of peace agreements between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC-EP, most of its military structures - more than 10,000 fighters - demobilized and went into civilian life. They became part of society and returned to it.

However, some 3,000 men and women in arms have not demobilized and are still in arms, but rather than ideology, they are linked to drug trafficking, illegal logging and timber trafficking. As a result, the current disputes are not absolutely directed against the state, but rather between the same structures and other armed paramilitary groups and drug traffickers.

Today, the FARC - neither as a party nor as dissidents - has the logistics, structures or weapons to decisively influence social protests. However, it should be borne in mind that former FARC fighters are now part of the people again and, thanks to their political education and combat experience, can contribute to mobilization as individuals.

7) What is the role of anarchists?

Anarchists were directly involved in mobilizations, rallies, community gatherings, and resistance zones. Organizations, collectives, and individuals who call themselves anarchists are constantly working to spread various forms of protest organization.

Our task is social work to raise awareness of various forms of anti-authoritarian, horizontal and autonomous resistance, as well as confrontation with the police in defense of peaceful mobilizations.

Anarchism is flourishing in Colombia.

8) Say something about the Unión Libertaria Estudiantil y del Trabajo (ULET) itself, what is its history?

The Libertarian Student and Workers' Union was born more than ten years ago as a proposal of an anarchist student trade union, which was updated over time and the entry of its participants into the world of work and focused on this area.

We are currently building a local and regional federation and have joined the International Workers' Association (IWA). We want anarcho-syndicalism as a tool of organization, cohesion, and the social political struggle to defend the working class and students against neoliberal policies that seek to precarize and liquidate the historical gains of workers.

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