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World Socialist Website - November 28, 2019

"The fact that hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets, in spite of Colombia’s long history of brutally suppressing the class struggle, points to the immense radicalization that has taken place within the population. In opposition to the state-sanctioned union leadership, the Colombian workers must form their own rank-and-file factory and neighborhood committees, to prepare for the revolutionary overthrow of the Duque administration and the entire state apparatus."

On Wednesday, Colombian workers and peasants took part in the second national strike of the past week.

Following the largest national strike in decades held last Thursday, in which hundreds of thousands peacefully protested against the right-wing Democratic Center (CD) administration of President Ivan Duque, state security forces mounted a counterattack, killing three protesters and injuring hundreds. In response, huge demonstrations took place again Saturday evening, including thousands rallying outside Duque’s private residence. Cacerolazos have taken place nightly across the country, in which thousands bang empty pots and pans in a deafening symbol of protest.

News broke late Monday that 18-year-old Dilan Cruz died in hospital, after he was shot in the head with a tear gas canister fired by Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron (ESMAD) riot police on Saturday. Cruz’s death had come to symbolize the brutality of ESMAD’s response to the peaceful protests, and further galvanized mass opposition to Duque. Before the strike, the latest Gallup poll showed Duque’s approval rating at a dismal 26 percent, which has sunk even further since the protests began.

On Twitter, the hashtag #ParoNacionalIndefinido, or “indefinite national strike,” has been trending throughout Colombia for the past week. Colombians have drawn immense inspiration from the mass struggles in Chile and Ecuador, as well as the protests against the military coup in Bolivia, impelling masses into struggle. The Colombian general strike took place the day after Chile held its third national strike in six weeks of protests, and as the entire South American continent is wracked by social explosions.

Duque responded to the surge in support for the strike by organizing a meeting with the Comité del Paro (Strike Committee), the leaders of the main trade unions and student groups that organized the national strike. These include the Central Union of Workers (CUT), the General Confederation of Workers (CGT), the Confederation of Workers of Colombia (CTC), as well as other major trade unions, all of which have worked to suppress the class struggle in Colombia for decades.

The trade unions first called the national strike as a means of letting off steam, as social inequality and state violence have become unbearable in Colombia. Following revelations in early November that the military murdered at least eight children in a bombing attack in August, and that five indigenous leaders were murdered in Cauca in October, student and indigenous groups joined with the trade unions, vastly expanding the size of the national strike. ...
Read full report at World Socialist Website