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Socialist Worker: Indigenous uprising in Colombia


"On October 13--516 years to the day that First Nation originarios discovered Christopher Columbus--some 12,000 indigenous Colombians marched onto the Pan-American Highway in Cauca and refused to lift their blockade until their demands for land, liberty and life were met by the state.

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, already facing widespread strikes by sugar-cane cutters, judicial workers and university students, declared a national state of emergency and sent in the National Police's mobile anti-riot squad to break up the highway blockade.

The resulting clashes between protesters and police killed at least two indigenous Colombians, and wounded 130 more. Nevertheless, the protests continue. Last week, indigenous rights groups marched to Cali, the third-largest city in Colombia, to press their demands. Representatives of the indigenous coalition were scheduled to meet with President Uribe as this article went to press.

We recently returned from 10 weeks in Colombia as international accompaniment delegates with the human rights organizations Witness for Peace, Christian Peacemaker Teams and Justicia y Paz. We traveled to at-risk communities in rural Cauca, Chocó, Santander and Bolívar, as well as in Bogotá and Medellín."

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Colombia's indigenous uprising (Socialist Worker 10/27)