On February 9 and 10, in Bogota, Colombia, representatives of over 187 social movements and political parties participated in the National Meeting of Social and Political Organizations for the defense of life, land, democracy and peace. The meeting aimed at building a common roadmap for the mobilization of the national strike scheduled in the coming months as a response to the current situation in Colombia.
The meeting was joined by intellectuals, artists, environmentalists, community leaders, unionized workers, representatives of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, peasant organizations, student movement and women’s organizations, all of whom are united by a common goal of achieving peace amid the warlike situation in the country, as well as in the continent.
Some of the other key objectives of the meeting were: Identifying common and shared lines of action for the construction of a sovereign and dignified country and a platform of unity and struggle; strengthening proposals, actions and mechanisms in defense of life, rights, territory, democracy and peace; strengthening the exercise of social and political convergence and defining campaigns and specifying organized and common strategies for the upcoming elections.
The delegates also held discussions on the strategies to strengthen international solidarity, especially with regard to rejecting imperialist intervention in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and condemning coup attempts against the constitutional government of Nicolas Maduro.
In the joint communique released before the meeting, several organizations highlighted the importance of reactivating “resistance, popular and democratic struggles in Colombia, Latin America and the world to defend sovereignty, self-determination of peoples and an alternative project of power”.
The communique emphasized that in Colombia, the conservative right-wing government of Iván Duque had deepened the neoliberal and extractivist model, strengthening the police-military apparatus and violation of the right to defend the territory. Prevailing corruption, silence of judiciaries, the systematic process of misinforming the citizens and dissemination of fake news by mainstream media were held responsible for aggravating the social crisis.
Duque’s government was also criticized for being incapable of restoring peace in the country and aggravating the situation by violating the peace agreements agreed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and pulling out of the dialogue with the National Liberation Army (ELN). The escalation of crimes against social leaders, human rights defenders and the stigmatization of social protest was also condemned.