Colombian paramilitaries murder farmers and union leaders to silence community resistance

“In Colombia the 21 day national strike, which enjoyed broad support, was a victory for the farmers movement, after 12 deaths, 4 disappearances, and 485 injured, according to official numbers; they got a law to control seeds suspended, along with subsidies to gas and supplies, to compensate the farmers for their losses, competing with international multinationals brought in the country by free market treaties.

The government and the strike board are currently negotiating new farming and mining laws, along with a revision of 10 free market treaties, trying to compensate or reduce the losses of farmers and miners; in the cities, while the solidarity with the farmers was the spark for the protests the privatization of health care and education brought even more people to the streets.

Facing police repression, and despite the threat of paramilitary violence they got a political victory, paralyzing the country while president Santos saw his popularity fall to an all time low of 24%, which forced him to negotiate.

But even after such demonstration for farmers to oppose mining and oil projects can be a very dangerous activity in this country, Julio farmer and human rights defender from Guayabero, has received dead threats, he believes not only him but everyone else in town is also in danger […]”