Colombia Strike Committee calls to meet social organizations

Bogota, Jan 17 (Prensa Latina) The Colombia Strike Committee convened on Friday the 2nd National Meeting of Social Organizations, which will take place in times of persistent violence in the country.

This event will take place on January 30-31 in the framework of the national mass strike started on November 21 and the latest political events that have aggravated the economic, social, human rights, environmental, territorial, life and peace situation of all Colombians, the committee said.

Participants in the event will debate on the analysis of the current situation, the 2019 mobilizations, action plan, dynamics and mechanisms to include new sectors, and an agenda for strengthening the National Strike Committee and the Departmental Strike Committees.

In that context, a national pot and pans protest is planned for January 21 against policies defended by the government, and for life and peace.

Colombia woke, demands explanations and solutions to the problems that overwhelm daily life and lead us to worse living and working conditions, plunging us into poverty and ignoring the most elementary rights, the committee emphasized.

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Seventeen Colombian social leaders assassinated so far this year

Bogota, Jan 13 (Prensa Latina) In the first few days of 2020, 17 social leaders have been assassinated in Colombia, according to Ivan Cepeda, co-president of the Senate Peace Commission.

Cepeda published the figures on his Twitter account, at a time when frequent violent acts have been reported in the country.

In that regard, he denounced the assassination of Benjamin Banguera, a signatory to the 2016 Peace Agreement between the Colombian State and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia?People's Army (FARC-EP) guerrillas.

One of the latest violent acts was denounced by the Catatumbo Small Farmers' Association. Social leader Tulio Sandoval, who was participating in the program to replace illegal crops, was killed by armed individuals who broke into his house, dragged him out and shot him repeatedly in front of his family.

Under such conditions, General Prosecutor Fernando Carrillo called recently to stop what he described as systematic assassination of social leaders.

Violence is a constant in Colombia's reality, as threats, attacks, kidnappings and assassinations take place nationwide, practically daily.

All this more than three years after the signing of the Peace Agreement and 17 months since Ivan Duque took office as Colombia's president.

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UN denounces murder of 86 human rights defenders in Colombia

United Nations, December 12 (RHC)-- At least 86 human rights defenders have been murdered so far this year in Colombia, according to a report released this week by Alberto Brunori, the country's representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Brunori stressed that the defense of human rights in Colombia is "a high-risk activity.   "I have to say with sadness and indignation that at least 86 human rights defenders have been murdered in Colombia so far in 2019. We knew many of them, we knew of their courageous work," he said.

According to the UN delegate, these figures reveal "the lack of integral presence of the Colombian state.
"The strengthening of democracies of equality and dignity is failing because the right to life and human rights are not being protected," he said.

According to Brunori, the crimes against defenders occurred in a context of "stigmatization of their work and their claims," and in remote places where "the exercise of the right to justice and to economic, social and cultural rights is precarious.

Likewise, the diplomat, who participated in a forum held on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, pointed out that 22 of the 86 leaders murdered were members of Community Action Boards (JAC), grassroots organizations that promote community processes mainly in neighborhoods and rural areas.

According to the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace, since the signing of the agreement between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and May of this year, 837 social leaders and human rights defenders and ex-combatants have been assassinated throughout the country.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Disapproval Rating for Colombia's Duque Reaches 70 Percent

The survey highlighted that 79 percent of respondents believe that the situation in the country is getting worse and only 11 percent feel optimistic about the government measures.

The disapproval towards the government of Colombian President, Ivan Duque, has reached 70 percent, a survey from the Invamer group read on Wednesday.

RELATED: Colombians Make Third National Strike in Less Than Two Weeks

The survey, made at the end of November, highlighted that 79 percent of respondents believe that the situation in the country is getting worse and only 11 percent feel optimistic about the way the government has handle the crises inside the South American nation.

The Duque administration is also not saved in terms of handling international relations since 49 percent believe that it is getting worse and only 30 percent believe it is on track.

Against the issues that most concern Colombians, 88 percent pointed to citizen insecurity, followed by corruption with 84 percent and the economy with 78 percent.

The national strike that has been carried out by workers' centrals and various social sectors in the country since November 21, on which an agreement for its termination is not glimpsed for now, had a decisive influence on this study, given the zero governmental capacity to meet the demands popular.

Further adding to the problems in Colombia has been Duque's crackdown against former FARC members, with many being killed by forces loyal to the president. 

While Duque denies playing any role in these kilings, his administration has done little to protect these former FARC personnel, despite the wide-spread attacks against these men and women. 

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Venezuelan president issues warning of attacks on border with Colombia

The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, urged the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) on Friday to remain alert for actions promoted by Colombian President Iván Duque on the border between the two nations.

"I have information that the Colombian Government and the U.S. Southern Command are planning provocative actions on the Colombian-Venezuelan border to try to divert attention from the popular uprising against Iván Duque," Maduro said during a meeting with railway workers in Caracas.

The Venezuelan president, turning to Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, said: "We must be prepared to defend the sovereignty of the Venezuelan homeland."  Maduro added: “The Bolivarian National Armed Forces must be alert and vigilant.  As Commander in Chief, I call on you to prepare to defend the peace and sovereignty of Venezuela.”

Nicolas Maduro also stressed the need to be increasingly prepared "to defend the homeland against U.S. imperialism and the Colombian oligarchy" and, in this way, guarantee "peace, production and progress."

The Venezuelan leader authorized handing out 13,000 rifles to the Combat Forces and instructed them to advance the organization of the working class as part of the Bolivarian Militia.

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Colombia's minister of defense resigns after killings

Bogota, November 7 (RHC)-- Colombian Defense Minister Guillermo Botero resigned his position on Wednesday, amid controversy over an Army bombing where eight minors were killed.  The incident was hidden for months and presented as an operation in which FARC-EP dissidents died, who recently returned to arms.

Botero's resignation occurs before he became the first minister of the country's history to be removed by Congress for a motion of censure against him for violence in Cauca, which would have been voted on next week.

On Wednesday, Botero met with President Iván Duque to analyze his situation, after which he presented his resignation letter.  “It is my duty as Minister of Defense to have an adequate reading of the political situation, so I have decided to resign from the position of Minister,” says the text.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Colombians enjoy salsa festival in Bogota with Cuban band Anacaona

Bogota, Nov 4 (Prensa Latina) Cuban band Anacaona got Colombian audiences dancing during the 22nd edition of the Salsa al Parque music festival, which concluded in Bogota yesterday.

Directed by bassist Georgia Aguirre, the all-women band made had festival-goers on their feet and singing along to many of their songs.

Aguirre thanked the festival organizers for the warm welcome received.

'Yo Soy el Punto Cubano' by singer and songwriter Celina Gonzalez, 'Flor Palida' by Polo Montañez; as well as the band's own songs, all featured during the performance.

With 87 years of experience, Anacaona fuses the most traditional Cuban rhythms with contemporary music and is considered one of the main exponents of salsa music.

Cuba was also represented during the Festival by the Orquesta Aragon, a legendary traditional music band with 80 years of artistic life.

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Thousands of students march in Colombia for quality education

Bogota, Nov 1 (Prensa Latina) Thousands of university students marched in Colombia demanding quality public education, against corruption and what they consider repression.

As occurs every Thursday in recent weeks, the people mobilized stage protests in cities such as Cali, Medellin and Bogota.

We are students, we demand solutions that give us repression and privatization, protesters chanted.

Some people mobilized said they demonstrated in rejection of the repression by riot police against student protests.

According to the participants in the protests, the government does not want to comply with the science and technology budget items agreed in the December negotiation.

Marches went in peace most of the route.

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