Colombia Grassroots Support: “Condemn” and “Withdraw” (US) support from the Colombia government – Protest Wednesday, May 12, 5:30 pm, One Gateway, Newark NJ

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An attempt to impose hardship through regressive taxation has led to a virtual uprising in Colombia – and the Colombian government has responded with severe repression.

On Wednesday, May 12, 5:30 pm, support for the Colombian struggle will feature presentations of Colombians denouncing the actions of the Colombian government and Us support for the repression.  The event is at One Gateway Plaza, Newark NJ,  adjacent to Newark Penn Station (easily accessibly from NYC and elsewhere.)

The event will also feature presentations from members of NJ’s Haitian community who are in a struggle against similar forms of repression in Haiti where the US is supporting an actual dictatorship of Jovenal Moise, who has refused to schedule elections and step down at the end of his term this past February as per the Haitian constitution.

The following is a statement from the NJ based organization Colombia Grassroots Support which will be participating in the May 12 event:

Press Release- Statement in support to Colombian People

Colombia Grassroots Support  stands in solidarity with the people of Colombia who began a “Paro Nacional” (National Strike) on Wednesday, April 28th. The Paro National was sparked by a proposal for “Reforma Tributaria” (Tax Reform) which included increased sales taxes and other tax-related initiatives that would place an increasing financial burden on the people of Colombia who have already struggled to survive during the last year of pandemic related lock down control measures.

Of particular concern to those protesting in the streets of Colombia (and what should be of concern to U.S. elected officials at all levels), is that former president Uribe not only supported the actions of the current Duque government to repress the national strike, but he also issued the following statement:

“Let us support the right of soldiers and police in the use of arms to defend their integrity and to protect the people and property from the criminal action of the terrorism of vandalism”. 

In other words, Uribe called for the use of arms against protesters potentially inciting violence against the people. Several people  died in protests in Cali, Colombia on Saturday and others have encountered police violence. In the United States, the press and elected officials screamed and continue to scream about the events at the Capitol on January 6th and the violence that was alleged to be incited by the words of Donald Trump  — but are remarkably silent about the words of the Colombia government against its own people. 

The Biden administration and the U.S. Congress should condemn the words and actions of the Colombia government and should withdraw its support of the authoritarian and violent government. We call to the Department of State and the US Congress to stop and declare a moratorium  to the sale of riot gear weapons to Colombia until the ESMAD (Police unit used to repress the social protest) be changed or dismantled  and the Public Force respect the rights of people to protest.

We call the Colombian government to address the legitimate demands of people by civil means including dialogue and  negotiations with social and union organizations. The withdraw of the Tax Reform is no enough, ruthless exploitation , inequity, poverty and in general the economic model should be discussed, as long with the full implementation of peace accords, prosecution of paramilitarism and adoption of a new military doctrine.

Finally, we support and encourage  the social mobilization to keep active and united as guarantee to achieve real solutions of social justice.

Monthly Antiwar Protest

The May 12 protest is the 5th in a monthly series being coordinated by a growing coalition of organizations including Black is Back Coalition, Green Party of NJ, #NJAntiWarAgenda, Party for Socialism and Liberation, VOIHLA Voices of Haitians Living Abroad and other organizations.

Each month the protests have focused on themes of support for national struggles opposing US interference and demanding improvements of conditions for residents of the US, including the homeless who sleep on the pavements in the streets around the site of the protest.

To represent, participate or for more information, call or text 908-881-5275.

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