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(en) via libre: Analysis of the situation in Colombia for 2022 (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Mon, 18 Apr 2022 08:35:37 +0300

In this paper, an analysis of the socio-political situation in Colombia for 2022 is developed from the perspective of the Grupo Libertario Vía Libre. To this end, some general trends in terms of public health, economy and population movements are outlined first, to continue in the second term with the socio-political characteristics that include criteria such as the management of the national government, the electoral situation, the conflict armed and human rights violations. Finally and thirdly, we address the popular movements, with the general social movements, as well as workers, peasants, indigenous, student, civic, women and sexual dissidence, environmental and other social sectors.

General trends

In terms of public health, the country continued to be strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, by the end of 2021, when the Omicron variant began to be the dominant one in the territory, 5,157,440 verified accumulated cases of the new coronavirus were registered according to the Google database, in addition to the unfortunate figure of 129,942 deaths in total. This at a time when it was passing through one of the lowest points of a plateau, a situation that quickly began with the beginning of a fourth wave of cases, which maintained a high number of infections although fewer deaths.

The above figures represented a cumulative index up to December 31 of 2,579.65 deaths per million inhabitants in the country according to Datosmacro, as well as the average 10,754 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days of the year. At the time, the comparatively low figure of 29,564,153 coronavirus tests carried out according to the Google database was accumulated.

In terms of the impact of the national vaccination plan developed for just over 300 days, a total of 64,690,489 vaccines were administered in the year, which resulted in 28,323,837 people fully vaccinated and 38,353,097 people with at least one dose, in addition of a number of 3,324,832 people with booster doses according to the John Hopkins University database. These raw numbers, however, revealed a comparatively low vaccination percentage at the regional level, with 57% of the population fully vaccinated, 78% with at least one dose, and 6.7% with booster doses.

On the other hand, in economic matters, the country experienced a notorious growth of 9.7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the Ministry of Finance, one of the largest percentages in the region. This recovery, greater than expected, began in February 2021 and had a significant increase since April, when the economic reopening without health care was decided. This is largely explained by the increase in domestic consumption of households, as well as the growth of items such as commerce and industry.

At the same time, a comparatively high inflation of 5.62% was recorded according to the National Department of Statistics (DANE), which is almost double the goal set by the Central Bank. What represents the largest increase in prices in five years, was noted above all in the price of food and beverages, which were adjusted above 17.23%, as well as transportation, which rose by 5.69%, items whose increases especially affect popular sectors. Additionally, inflation for poor families was estimated at 6.85% according to the same source, 50% higher than that experienced by rich families in the same period.

On the other hand, a high unemployment of 13.7% and 3.35 million people was registered in the year according to DANE. This figure, which represents a slight decrease compared to the previous year, does not detract from a deep sexual inequality of work, since men faced unemployment of 10.6% while women did so at 18.1%, more than double, according to the same source. At the regional level, the highest concentrations of unemployed occurred in the intermediate cities of Quibdó, Cúcuta and Riohacha, with percentages above 19%, while the national capital remained at 16%.

Likewise, monetary poverty is around an estimated 40% of the population and 21,500,000 people according to Fedesarrollo, which represents a slight drop compared to the peak reached during the crisis last year. The enormous poverty, which is aggravated above all in rural areas, was not greatly affected by the government's policies to expand targeted minimum subsidies, since the phenomenon is related above all to high unemployment, the increase in inflation and low wages.

In another aspect, until November 2021, a huge external debt was registered, which represents 167,859 million dollars and 53.1% of GDP according to the Banco de la República, including a percentage of 31.7% of public debt and 21.3 % of private debt. This represented a minimal reduction compared to the previous year, although in fact this usurious debt grew strongly in the second half of the year due to new loans acquired by government authorities.

In another indicator, a fiscal deficit of 7.1% of the total GDP and 63.8% of the GDP of the central national government was registered, according to the Ministry of Finance, which represents a slight reduction compared to the previous year. The reduction is explained by a partial increase in tax revenues, mainly due to the economic reopening, which, however, is limited by the parallel increase in speculative interest on debts.

On the other hand, the gap in the State's trade balance seems to have increased, with a deficit of 6,135 million dollars in the fourth quarter of the year according to the Bank of the Republic, with exports concentrated in primary goods with 19,972 million dollars. dollars and imports concentrated in manufactured goods of 26,107 million dollars according to the same source, a negative balance that almost triples the records of last year.

In terms of energy mining extraction, which represents 45.7% of the country's total exports in 2021, a production of 736,356 barrels of oil per day was recorded, which represents a decrease of 5.7% and the lowest number in 13 years , decrease in part explained by a combination of electrical and mechanical failures affected by the armed conflict. On the other hand, natural gas production reached 10.87 million cubic feet, an increase of close to 2% with the highest figure in five years. In parallel, there was an increase in coal production with an estimated 65 million tons extracted in the year, as well as a gross increase of 16% and 10.7 million tons according to the employers' association Fenalcarbón, in a sector that benefited from the global rise in prices,

Regarding the extraction of agricultural products that represent 16.4% of the country's exports in 2021, 12.6 million bags of green coffee were produced (of the total 12.4 million of them and 98.4% for export), a significant reduction of 9% compared to the previous year, mainly explained by bad weather conditions. In the banana sector, where the country is fourth in the world, the production of 84.5 million boxes for export was achieved and an estimated profit of 770 million dollars according to DANE, indicators that, however, show a significant drop compared to 2020 In the flower sector, 80% concentrated in the US market, sales reached 1,727 million dollars, an increase of 22.4% compared to the previous year,

On the other hand, the country's industrial production index grew by 10.3%, driven by the growth of the manufacturing industry, which expanded by 15.9% according to DANE, although growth in infrastructure items such as electricity and gas supply was also important. , as well as water distribution treatment. In the employed personnel of the manufacturing sector, the manufacture of garments, the manufacture of metal products, the manufacture of beverages and the production of food grew especially. Meanwhile, the construction sector managed to move 43.6 billion pesos, with the sale of an estimated 239,000 housing units according to the Camacol employers' association, the largest record in recent history, in addition to registering 10.2 million square meters built and 6.5 million tons of cement shipped in the year.

In terms of population, the country, which is the main destination of Venezuelan migration due to its geographical proximity, registered 1,824,390 migrants from this country according to the R4V platform, an accumulation that continues to grow, despite the counter-trend of return that occurred during the first months of the pandemic. This is a population in mostly irregular conditions, for which the Colombian government has sought to adopt a Temporary Protection Statute belatedly, exposed to a very high unemployment of 48% and informality with only 22% of employees registering a labor contract. formal according to Cende.

On the other hand, Colombia continues to consolidate itself as a dangerous transit point for migrants heading to North America, with more than 106,838 migrants transiting the country this year according to Migración Colombia, the majority in the second half of the year when it reached records of more than 1,000 daily migrants to the country. This migrant population, 87% Haitian from other South American countries, but also Caribbean, African and Asian. Its rapid increase has generated dramatic situations in small and impoverished populations such as Necoclí in the Pacific, where the concentration of up to 23,000 refugees without better subsistence conditions occurred in August and September.

Socio-political characteristics

In political matters, in 2021 the third year of the government of former senator and adviser to the commercial bank Iván Duque of the right-wing Democratic Center party and the Uribista, conservative and evangelical coalition in the executive closed. Duque's is the most unpopular government in recent history, with 71% disapproval in the year according to Invamer, which in April reached 76% and among young people it exceeded 84%. Another survey in May by Cifra y Concepts revealed that among young people in the main cities, 91% expressed their distrust of the government and 93% of the Senate.

In the midst of official impunity and the complicit support of the majority of the big business press, the government managed to block several of the investigations that were being carried out for fraud in the 2018 elections, both that of the "Political Ñeñe" that linked the drug trafficker Ñeñe Hernández with the illegal financing of the campaign and the buying of votes, such as that of Aida Merlano, a former senator of the Conservative Party and a fugitive from justice, involved in multiple corruption networks and also in massive vote buying. At the same time, its strategy of impunity advances, coordinated with the Attorney General's Office of Francisco Barbosa, former presidential secretary, against its political leader, former President Álvaro Uribe, who, however, has had less luck, due to the large amount of evidence accumulated against him. per purchase,

In political matters, the government unsuccessfully confronted the corruption scandal of the Minister of Communications Karen Abudinen, political quota of the Char house and former presidential advisor to Duque, due to irregularities in the Populated Centers project that led to the theft of more than 70 billion dollars. pesos from the treasury, which led to his resignation in September, despite the support given him by the government majority in the Senate.

At the time, the government maintained its majority in the Congress of the Republic, under the presidency of the politician Juan Diego Gómez of the Conservative Party in the Senate and the rancher Jennifer Arias of the Democratic Center in the House of Representatives. In its hegemony, the government manages to articulate an informal legislative coalition, which adds the closed defenders of the government that accumulate 52 representatives of the Democratic Center, the Conservative Party, the U Party, MIRA and Colombia Justa-Libres and the so-called independent parties, key in his election in the second round, which accumulate 30 representatives and frequently support him as the Radical Change Party and the Liberal Party. This majority allowed him the support of the Minister of Defense, the politician Diego Molano,

At the level of regional power, there was a strong attrition of the independent mayorships of the academic Claudia López of the Green Party in Bogotá, the businessman Daniel Quintero of an independent sector in Medellín, the politician Jorge Iván Ospina also of the Green Party in Cali and in lesser measure of Jaime Pumarejo of the Radical Change Party of the char house in Barranquilla, in the midst of the so-called crisis of urban insecurity, exploited by the big business press.

In electoral terms, the dynamic campaign for the congress and the presidency of 2022 is announced, marked by the continuity of political polarization, the strong rejection of Duque's management and Uribism, and the centrality of the opposition figure of the center presidential candidate left Gustavo Petro. On the stage three great electoral coalitions are formed, the right wing led by Cambio Radical, the U, the Conservative Party and the evangelicals, the center led by the Green Party and the independent sectors and the left of the Historical Pact led by Colombia Humana and the Democratic Pole, at a time of great dispersion of presidential candidacies with more than 16 candidates.

In terms of the armed conflict, the country is experiencing a significant increase in political violence, which led to 1,813 murders by illegal armed actors in the year, as well as 870 death threats, 94 acts of forced confinement according to Indepaz, in addition to 168 cases of disappearance. forced according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In addition, there were 96 massacres with 335 victims during the year according to the same source, especially concentrated in Antioquia, which obtained the highest lethal records, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Nariño and Caquetá.

The escalation of the conflict led to 2021, which has become the most violent year since the signing of the 2016 peace agreement with 884 violations of international humanitarian law according to the Red Cross. The war was expressed regionally in Arauca where there were two waves of clashes between the Venezuelan Guard, the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Second Marquetalia and the dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) led by Gentil Duarte, who led to massive population displacements and confinements. Various confrontations also took place in the departments of Choco due to clashes between the ELN and the AGC, and in Cauca, Nariño and Putumayo due to clashes between Duarte's dissidents and the Second Marquetalia and the ELN.

In the same terrain, military coups were carried out by the State, with events such as the capture by the Armed Forces of Dairo Antonio Úsuga "Otoniel", leader of the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces (AGC) in October, as well as the death after a bombing in the same month in Choco by Ángel Padilla "Fabián", commander of the ELN. In addition, the deaths of Hernán Darío Velásquez "El Paisa", Henry Castellanos "Romaña" and Seuxis Hernández "Jesús Santrich", historical commanders of the Second Marquetalia, occurred in December, in apparent combats with rival sectors of the FARC dissidents, in the border with Venezuela.

In terms of human rights, the murder of 171 social leaders and 48 former members of the FARC according to Indepaz, concentrated mainly in the Pacific region of Cauca, epicenter of violence, Antioquia, Nariño, Valle del Cauca and Choco. The murders hit especially the indigenous sectors, the most victimized, in addition to sectors such as civic, communal, peasant and Afro-descendant. This sad figure, however, represents a significant reduction compared to the last period and the peak of last year, which does not detract from the 1,286 social leaders assassinated since the signing of the peace agreements in 2016 according to Indepaz.

On the other hand, a large increase in forced displacement was recorded in the country, with 82,846 displaced persons and an increase of 169% compared to 2020 according to Codhes, with the occurrence of 167 acts of mass displacement, which were concentrated in the departments of Nariño , which concentrates the largest number of displaced people, Antioquia, Choco and Cauca, a particularly serious phenomenon for the black and indigenous population.

popular movements

In social matters, the central event of the year was the social outbreak that began after the national strike on April 28. The protest that combined mobilization and street blockades was strong in the main cities of the country and had as its axis the south west and especially the city of Cali and its metropolitan area. It lasted for at least three months, with very high levels of activity in May, and lower levels in June and July. For the month of May, a survey by the newspaper El Tiempo revealed that 63% of the young people consulted in the main cities of the country participated in the protests and 84% felt represented by the movement. The repression against the outbreak left a record of 80 fatal victims of state and para-state repression, in addition to 83 victims of eye violence and 1.

In terms of workers' struggles, the extensive protests with the occupation of facilities of Ecopetrol workers in Barranca, Cantagallo and Yondó in the months of September and December against labor outsourcing were central. Also relevant were the strikes by the workers of the Centelsa cable company in Cali in February due to their collective agreement, and the partial strikes by the Notary and Registry workers in the second half of the year against a reform without consultation of the entity.

Likewise, an interesting cycle of workers' mobilization was presented in October and November, as shown by the mobilizations of workers in the kitchen area of the Cartagena Refinery in October in rejection of possible dismissals, as well as the hunger strike of miners from Prodeco del Terminate in the months of February and October against dismissals. A little later, there was the mobilization of the workers of the Essmar aqueduct company in Santa Marta in November against the intervention of the company by the national government and of the employees of the Taghleff plastics company in Mamonal the same month, against the judicial persecution to which union activists have been subjected. In addition, there were regional strikes by state teachers in Antioquia, Valle, Tolima and Risaralda in November,

Within the framework of the national strike, the unequal strike in solidarity with the national strike of nearly a month of public school teachers, which lasted between the end of April and May, and in some institutions lasted until June, was key. The permanent assembly of the women workers of Ecopetrol at the Barrancabermeja Refinery in May due to biosafety measures and of the workers of the Termo Candelaria de Mamonal company in June due to increased hiring of local residents was also key. Important legal advances were also presented, such as those achieved by the glass workers in their lawsuit against the collective labor agreements imposed by the companies and for the re-admission of the pilots fired from Avianca after the 2017 strike.

In the peasant movement, the participation of this sector was central in the dynamics of the social outbreak and the development of mobilizations of rural sectors in Bolívar, Arauca, Casanare, Nariño, Guaviare, Putumayo, Cauca, Tolima and Huila. In addition, strong protests took place in February, May and November in Anorí in Antioquia and Iscandúe in Nariño, due to the tension between the coca-growing population and the groups of the armed forces in charge of forced eradication, in the midst of the State's systematic non-compliance with policies of voluntary substitution and the search for the re-implementation of the dangerous aerial spraying of crops by the government.

In the indigenous movement, the Indigenous Minga was developed, energized by the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC), which brings together the Nasa, Misak, Totoroe, and Yanacona peoples, among others, with the minga going inland in the department of Cauca in April, as well as the participation of delegations from these organizations in the social protests in Cali in May and the new protests in December against the violence in their territories. On the other hand, the mobilization of the Misak people grouped in the Indigenous Authorities of the Southwest (AISO) in Bogotá in May, which demolished various statues and colonial symbols with popular support, gained great visibility.

In the student movement, the central fact was the 2-month strike that was experienced in 18 public universities between the months of May and June in solidarity with the social outbreak, which lasted another month in institutions such as Unisucre. Also relevant was the strike at the Pedagogical and Technological University (UPTC) of Tunja between June and August due to budget, which came out with a partial agreement.

In the civic movement, there was a hunger strike by young people from La Guajira between September and October for social investment in the department, which also included a mobilization in the capital, as well as a protest by the inhabitants of Sotaquirá in Boyacá in July in demand for the completion of the construction of a public school in the area. In other social sectors, there was also a hunger strike by detainees in La Picota prison in August against the poor conditions of the prison's food and health services.

In the women's movement, the important participation in the traditional mobilizations of March 8 and November 25 was maintained, while the strength of the mobilizations for the right to abortion grew around September 28 and accompanying the legal demand before the Constitutional Court for the legalization of this therapeutic practice. In the movement of sexual dissidents, there were great days of mobilization for the day of pride, as well as a growth in the trans marches also in June.

In the environmental movement, the protests of fishermen and inhabitants of Puerto Wilches were registered in February and March against the fracking pilot, as well as the June 5 call for the partial call for the national environmental strike, small but with several points of mobilization. Likewise, the protest of peasants from El Cocuy took place in July against a mining exploitation project in the national park of that region.

Also among these diverse sectors, the protest was presented in September by the informal miners of Caucasia, after the murder in Nechí of a miner in the confrontations as a result of the Army and Police operations against this activity. On the other hand, the Choco civic and mining strike took place for 11 days in October against government persecution of this activity, as well as a protest by the artisanal miners of Borbur for the possibility of exploiting the emerald mines given in concession to the company. Fura Gems. In addition, the participation of informal miners in the mobilization of May 11 within the framework of the social outbreak is reviewed.

In summary, this was a 2021 marked by the enormous weight of the Covid-19 pandemic, a partial recovery of the economy, the strong crisis of legitimacy of the Duque government, the resurgence of the armed conflict and human rights violations, as well as by the historic social outbreak of April 28 and multiple workers' and popular struggles.

Up those who fight!

Freeway Libertarian Group

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