Tatiana Muñoz – FLAF Americas

These have been days and nights of enormous tension, confrontation and sheer resistance in different parts of the Colombian territory. The resistance these days has been adding and the dignity of the people has shown the shortcomings of an indolent, inequitable and violent government. They thought that April 28 would be one more march, what they did not imagine was its prolongation and the social fabric so resistant that it has sparked.

Beyond the social outbreak due to the tax reform proposal, there were already antecedents years ago. These demanded dignified guarantees for the Colombian people; it was not only the students who came out, but an entire community burdened by inequality and exclusion from the political agends in favor of the interests of the country’s elites. Although, the pandemic locked us up for a few months, it did not mean that we would endure the barbarism of the public police force in the peripheral areas of the city, which several popular sectors showed on social networks the repression in the midst of the pandemic and the need to return to the streets, regardless of the effects of Covid 19.

Different unions have come out to reject the government’s proposals, which only benefit and enrich the elite. The people of the neighborhood, students, truck drivers, teachers, taxi drivers, indigenous communities, black communities, barra bravas; ‘the nobodies’ in all their diversity have been the protagonists during these weeks, taking to the streets and making a space for reflection and constant mobilization. However, in the midst of the uprising, the government has responded with increased militarization in the neighborhoods. This has meant the reinforcement of the government forces, who have fired at the protesters without justifying their actions, leaving seriously injured, disappeared, dead and detained, ignoring human rights. There has been censorship, threats and also in broad daylight they have allowed “the rich, the good people” to go out in high-end vans shooting at the protesters, without any follow-up to their actions.

Adding up all these unjustifiable events, they believed that giving continuity to football, to the matches that take place in Colombia would especially blind the fans. The supporters responded: ‘We love football but now is not the time for it” rejecting the staging of the Copa América, in the midst of the bleeding that our country is experiencing these days. Despite the trickery of the Colombian government, it has received total rejection on the part of the various barra brava groups that prefer to hold out from the streets, carrying a message of solidarity and joining in as many times as necessary in the midst of the situation. In this sense, we have seen how the fans put aside their rivalries, making these spaces a carnival for dignity. This shows us that generations have awakened and no longer believe the government. They prefer to work together, they have even created the frontline against the police and authorities in which fans of different teams participate. They sing songs and chant together against the decisions of the current government as well.

The dynamics have changed because we dream of another country and this was reflected on the night of May 12, where the Libertadores Cup match was taking place between Junior of Barranquilla vs River Plate at the Romelio Martinez stadium in Barranquilla, ignoring the context of the country. The ball cannot roll while our people are massacred. In the middle of the international broadcast of this match teargas was visible inside the stadium, evidencing a confrontation outside. It was inevitable that the corporate media would try to use football as a distraction from the reality of a country that has been resisting day-and-night. For the moment nothing is going to distract us and we invite the international community to make the Colombian people’s struggle visible.

It is time for organization, endurance and resistance.

Long live the National strike! Victory is ours!

Tatiana Muñoz