14 November 2008

Uribe's Colombia And The Real One

The protests and rejection of the policies imposed by the current government brings into question that 84% of Colombians who, according to surveys by the media, back President Uribe

Of course the wealthy and the transnational corporations have more than enough reasons to support him and want to perpetuate his rule

Uribe led the burial of the working rights achieved by workers in more than 80 years of trade union struggle, reduction of income and destruction of the most spirited unions. He privatised strategic sectors of the economy, finished off the unions, imposed fixed contracts and labour mediation.

He freed the capitalists and the state from the responsibility of social security, converting health into a commodity within the reach of only the wealthy and moved social benefits to funds created with contribution deducted from workers’ salaries.

He handed over the most profitable state institutions to private investors, sold at low prices, favouring international corporations and large economic groups of the country.

He offered all kinds of legal guarantees and financial relief to foreign investors and subsidies to powerful export cartels.

He militarised life in the country and penalised popular protests. Four hundred trade unionists have been assassinated in the six years of Uribe’s government. With a labour force of 17 million, 3,000 weakened unions survive which bring together 831,000 workers terrorised by the threat of the bosses and state terrorism.

He deepened the narco-paramilitary agrarian counter-reform, favouring the displacement of indigenous farmers and Afro-descendants through terror generated by massacres, selective assassinations and death threats.

The Colombia of the oligarchs benefiting from the very generous contribution and security offered by Uribe, which enriched them and concentrated ownership among a few, is the reason they are satisfied and want to perpetuate his rule. This is the elite which manipulates the surveys that show 84% support for the President.

The other Colombia, oppressed, exploited and excluded, which is the majority, awakes from the terror of the dirty war. Reflected in its protests and actions is the true dimension of the humanitarian crisis, the social injustice and the poverty in which more than 30 million of the countrymen live.

Though intimidated by state terrorism, this Colombia is taking to protest marches in the streets and highways. Now heading for strike demanding rights snatched away by the bosses, it takes to highways to reclaim its ancestral rights and demanding respect and recognition of its millennial culture.

It stands up, protests and marches without taking notice of the threats by the government, especially of Defence Minister Santos.

What is being revived are important steps in solidarity with the marches of more than 500,000 workers and shanty town residents, in support of the struggles of the sugarcane workers, of state workers in conflict and the socially excluded indigenous people.

This social mobilisation brings closer the moment in which the voice of this Colombia has to be heard and taken into account in defining the direction of the country. The small dominant elite, which makes outrageous postures in its own favour in the name of all people, is on the slope of decline.

[Abridged from a communiqué by ELN (the National Liberation Army), a smaller Colombian guerrilla group.]

Source: Argenpress

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