ISL Declaration: Solidarity With the Colombian Rebellion

1. The national strike of April 28 turned into a general rebellion in Colombia. The working people, led by the youth, rose against the Tax Reform of the Iván Duque´s government and dealt it an important first defeat. After five days of massive mobilizations and confrontations, Duque was forced to withdraw the Tax Reform and resign his Minister of Finance, but the people remain in the streets demanding fundamental changes, the fall of the entire government plan and the resignation of the Duque himself.

2. The national strike of November 2019 put Colombia in tune with the rise of rebellions and revolutions that shook Latin America that year. Although the Covid19 pandemic imposed a pause in the process, it by no means ended it. Today the mobilization is resumed and Colombia is at the vanguard of the continent, as Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru have been before and Paraguay was more recently.

3. Duque responded to the uprising of 28A with brutal repression. The Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (Esmad) and the paramilitary forces in the government´s service have not hesitated to fire live ammunition at the demonstrations. As of today, at least 27 protesters, and perhaps many more, have been killed. At least 124 people have been injured and hundreds have been arrested. But the repression has not managed to defeat the mobilized people, who have erected blockades and barricades day after day, overcoming the brutal repression.

4. The announcement of the withdrawal of the Tax Reform and the resignation of the Minister of Finance did not succeed in appeasing the people in rebellion either. They demand the fall of the entire package of measures that the Duque government agreed with the IMF, the OECD and the World Bank; and the resignation of Iván Duque.

5. The blockades and barricades in Cali, the epicenter of the uprising, have imposed a de facto paralysis of transportation and economic activity in the city. Massive mobilizations are taking place in Bogotá, Medellín and throughout the country. The pressure has forced the union centrals in the National Strike Committee to call for new mobilizations.

6. The right-wing bourgeois opposition – Radical Change – and the center-left forces – Gustavo Petros’ Historical Pact and Sergio Fajardo’s Coalition of Hope – are betting on dialogue with Duque and channeling the process towards the 2022 presidential elections. The labor bureaucracy that commands the National Strike Committee maintains the mobilization due to pressure from below, but also bets on negotiating with the government, not on the fall of the government that the people demand.

7. Impulso Socialista, Colombian section of the ISL, supports the deepening of the mobilization until Duque falls and the call for a National Strike Assembly where workers in struggle and the popular assemblies that are developing in different regions of the country can coordinate and promote the continuity of mobilizations, discuss a program to solve the economic and health crisis and establish itself as an alternative of power and government.

8. The International Socialist Leagues stand in solidarity with the mobilized Colombian people; we repudiate the brutal repression of the Duque government, we demand an independent investigation and trial and punishment of those responsible for it; we join the demand for the fall of the Duque package and the resignation of his government; and we support Impulso Socialista´s proposals for the non-payment of the foreign debt, the nationalization of banking and foreign trade, the implementation of progressive taxes on large fortunes, the elimination of VAT from the basic food basket, a general increase in wages and a basic unemployment income, and the need for the democratic self-organization of the working people and sectors in struggle, with the perspective of a workers’ government.

9. It is imperative to organize international solidarity and take it into action. The ISL commits to immediately launching a campaign of pronouncements, dissemination on social networks and actions at the Colombian embassies and consulates of each country, in repudiation of Duque’s repression and in support of the Colombian people and their demands.

May 4, 2021