I’m not sure how much coverage this got in the states, but I wanted to take a little time to learn, write, and share about the event.
Once the strike began, protests (both peaceful and violent) began to take place across the country. Riot police used live ammunition against protestors and fired tear gas into people’s homes. Farmers blocked roads and refused to let traffic through until a resolution was reached. Support for the farmers and other strikers was seen across the political spectrum and over the course of the strike, President Santos’ approval rating plummeted to 21%. (Sources: LA Times, Al Jazeera, Fox News)
Finally, at the beginning of September, after three weeks of strikes and protests, the government agreed to a nation-wide dialogue to discuss demands. During the discussion, farmers have agreed to lift the strike and roadblocks. The demands include guaranteeing prices on agricultural goods, reduced prices of fertilizer, insecticide, compost and other farm-production materials, reparations for land theft, and a whole lot more. So far there has yet to be a resolution. (Sources: Colombia Reports Sep 7th and Sep 11th)
But, in doing the research for this post, I’ve been reminded of what has been at the back of mind since I arrived here: while things on the cultural surface may appear calm and subdued, there is a growing riptide of unrest just below. For a wonderfully written article that does a far better job than I ever could outlining some of the major issues Colombia currently faces, I recommend this post from the Nation.