The Communist Party of Canada supports the people of Colombia who have been fighting since April 28 against the government of Ivan Duque and its reactionary and neoliberal policies, many of which are dictated by US imperialism. In particular, we express our solidarity with the Colombian Communist Party (PaCoCol) and its youth organization (JuCo), which have been involved for decades in social movements and in the struggle for a free, sovereign and socialist Colombia. We also denounce the repression and systematic violence on the part of the Colombian government which has resulted in 1708 victims of police brutality, 37 deaths and 831 arbitrary arrests, according to the most recent data.
We also express our solidarity with the national strike movement, which has forced the government to withdraw regressive tax reform measures which attempted to make workers, small peasants and the popular masses pay for the public deficit. These reforms planned, among other things, to tax pensions, public services, agricultural inputs, and to freeze civil service salaries until 2026, without raising taxes on large businesses.
Proud of this victory, the unions, the students, the Indigenous and peasant movement and other sectors of society decided to continue and deepen the fight against Duque, neoliberalism and US imperialism. Despite the repression, the popular offensive has not let up and continues to demand the departure of Duque and his government.
Colombia is one of the most unequal countries in the region with 40% of the population living in poverty. It is clear the country has been devastated by neoliberalism. For many years, US imperialism and its allies have used Colombia as a base of operations for provocations and aggression in the region, as evidence by the numerous coups attempts and destabilization campaigns against Venezuela, which have been based in Colombia. Imperialism relies so much on Colombia that the country was made a NATO partner state in 2018.
The violent and systematic repression of social movements in Colombia is not new. Any movement, any organization likely to oppose the imperialist yoke and the power of big business, is targeted for liquidation. Of all murders of trade unionists around the globe, two-thirds occur in Colombia.
Since the signing of the peace accords between the Colombian government and the FARC in Havana in 2016, more than 1,000 union, social movement and progressive leaders have been assassinated, putting the peace process in danger. With the present crackdown being supported by the United States and the European Union, this peace process could be in serious jeopardy.
As for Canada, its complicit silence is indicative of the interests it defends. Canadian mining companies have written the mining laws there so that they pay no royalties and can plunder the country’s resources unhindered. Colombian forces have been trained by Canadian officers, while Canada has sold helicopters and other military equipment to the Colombian government. Canada had no qualms about signing a free trade agreement with Colombia in 2010.
Today, Canada, the United States, the Lima Group, the OAS and their allies are trying to make us believe that Venezuela is a dictatorial state and that we should come to the aid of the Venezuelan people searching for freedom. Yet Venezuela has never repressed social movements like Colombia does. At no time has Venezuela used drug cartels to fund paramilitary groups.
Today the Colombian people are in struggle. Their struggle is ours, because it is the struggle of all the peoples of the world against imperialism and against capitalism. It is a struggle against the domination of transnational corporations, against the repression of popular and democratic movements in Colombia and the region. It is also our struggle because the Colombian people are fighting against the same mining companies that here in Canada, directly or indirectly, are responsible for the destruction of our environment, participate in the theft of Indigenous peoples’ lands and dictate our government’s policies.
We demand the Government of Canada publicly and clearly condemn the repression of the Duque government. We also demand that Canada lift its sanctions against Venezuela, for it is clear that Duque, not Nicolas Maduro, is the leader of a “rogue” state that endangers sovereignty and peace in Latin America.