More Images of the Aftermath of the “Paro Nacional Agrario”

My taxi driver this morning was indignant, he was full of contempt for Bogota’s mayor Gustavo Petro, hatred for the President Juan Manuel Santos and possessed even more vitriol towards those who had turned a peaceful march – the Paro Nacional Agrario – in support of striking farmers into a battleground in several areas of Bogota.

"We support the strike"

“We support the strike”

This strike has been seen as legitimate and is widely supported by most sectors of Colombian society. President Juan Manuel Santos’ reaction to the nationwide strike is likely what caused the event to escalate to take the battle into cities such as Bogota and Medellin.

The Palacio de Justicia on the corner of the Plaza de Bolivar was singled out for special treatment by the vandals

The Palacio de Justicia on the corner of the Plaza de Bolivar was singled out for special treatment by the vandals

Downtown Bogota this morning was empty as I headed in for a meeting. There was talk of nothing else and the only visible work taking place was that of clearing up debris. It was a mess.

Many businesses chose not to open today

Many businesses chose not to open today

I spoke to a few shopkeepers about the events of August 29, and most had shut up their businesses with the increase in the violence. Almost all were complaining from the after effects of the tear gas fired by the ESMAD agents in response to the disturbances.

And there was plenty of cleaning to do

And there was plenty of cleaning to do

So, what next? Given the violence that started yesterday afternoon (blamed of course by the Government on the guerrillas), Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, in what feels like a last throw of the dice, decided to apply a mano dura aproach to the rioting enforcing a curfew – toque de queda – and prohibiting the sale of alcohol  – ley seca – in various problematic barrios.

Maybe President Santos got the message?

Maybe President Santos got the message?

Then in perhaps in an act resembling that of his predecessor he called for his ministers to withdraw from negotiations with campesinos due to the violence and followed this up by militarizing Bogota. All over the city there was a heavy police and military presence. Does this make you feel safer?

Even the mornally sedate barrio of Chapinero was militarized

Even the normally sedate barrio of Chapinero was militarized

Kevin Howlett of Colombia Politics described the scene this morning in Bogota eloquently as a “rarefied atmosphere” which conveyed the scene in the city perfectly.

And there were extra members of the Guardia Presidencial out and about

And there were extra members of the Guardia Presidencial out and about

Curiously, what we are seeing is a convergence of two extremist ideologies, albeit from polar opposite ends of the spectrum, pulling and pushing as if they were working together. You have on one side the Uribistas and on the other the guerrillas and both seem to be intent on one aim, that of ousting President Santos. Accusations are flying back and forth about either side infiltrating the peaceful marches to turn them sadistic. And while, as I write this, there seems to be some sort of agreement reached between the government and the farmers, after two weeks of centralist pretensions from Santos, this is an issue that will not go away and needs to be addressed.

Bogota felt as if she was suffering from the mother of all hangovers today.

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “More Images of the Aftermath of the “Paro Nacional Agrario”

  • Its a shame that the otherwise peaceful protest was hijacked by a minority, which could possibly be oposition organised to further destabalise the situation for the upcoming elections…? The farmers were protecting the police from the minority at some points, I’m not saying Santos is entirely innocent, I think he’s been concentrating on the Cuba discussions and thinking the home issues would be a quick fix which has backfired.

  • how come people is always showing the bad side of what happens here in colombia, why don't you talk about u.s.a wanting to attack siria? fuck off, you are not from here you have no right to talk about what happens here in that way, the paro is because the fucking u.s.a has bought our presidents decisions, and protesters are not vandals, is the proletarian masses trying to be listened, since the oligarchy is what is in power, if you don't really know, fuck the hell off

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to toolbar