In recent years, the Colombian government has signed FTAs with several countries, including the USA (implemented in May 2012), China, Canada (signed in 2008, and took effect in August 2011), the EU. It is negotiating with Israel (first round of talks was held in January 2012), Korea (since 2009), is exploring the possibility of an FTA with Costa Rica, and has concluded a joint study on an FTA with the Japanese government. Labour and human rights organizations in Canada and the US have raised concerns and opposition to FTAs with Colombia due to the deadly repression and human rights violations against Colombian trade unionists, labour organisers, Indigenous Peoples and other communities there. Such concerns have delayed the ratification of these agreements. Within Colombia, a national coalition against free trade agreements, RECALCA, has warned that these agreements further deepen the privatization and corporate control over Colombian people’s lives and the country’s natural resources. Colombian farmers have opposed the deal because of concerns of increased unfair competition with US. transnational agribusiness and the devastation this will cause local producers. RECALCA has also warned that a proposed FTA with Korea could badly impact Colombia’s auto sector with resulting job losses.
last update: May 2012
The struggle has made several gains for farmers and the left, writes Steven Mather from Putamayo.
In Colombia after 21 days of a nationwide strike by thousands of farmers, blocking more than 40 roads nationwide, protesting farmers forced the Colombian government to negotiate the rejection of a farm bill and the release of detained protesters. Report from Real News Network.
The Colombian anarchist Grupo Libertario Vía Libre wrote and published the following article in late August, in Spanish. Now translated to English.
Radio interview with Julia Duranti, with Witness for Peace. The group works in some of the hardest-hit regions for farmers in Colombia.
The wave of strikes and demonstrations is not only the most significant social movement in decades in Colombia. It is currently the most broadly based challenge to the global neo-liberal project.
On 19 August, Colombian farmers’ organisations initiated a massive nationwide strike against the government’s policies. Seeds emerged as one highly visible issue.
Colombia’s defense minister announced he’ll be sending the military to cities where police failed to maintain the peace at anti-government protests Thursday during which at least a hundred protesters were injured and dozens were arrested.
About 30,000 people marched peacefully in Colombia’s capital Thursday in support of a 10-day protest by small farmers against free trade agreements until pandemonium broke out.
Tension in Colombia will increase with another great mobilization scheduled for [today] which is expected to be massive due to the guilds that will join, including the Sudent Wide National Bureau and Workers’ Trade Union of Petroleum Industry (USO).
Nationwide agricultural strikes are continuing in Colombia after more than a week of ongoing roadblocks, marches and clashes with the police.