Graft, economic woes spark protests in Colombia

Bucaramanga: Kevin Anthony Agudelo wanted to live in a country where corruption was not part of everyday life. That dream motivated the electrician to join thousands of Colombians in a series of demonstrations against the government since last week.

He never returned home from his third protest. Sobbing beside her 22-year-old son's coffin at a funeral home, ngela Jim nez blamed Agudelo's shooting death on the same government he had hoped to change.

"It was like three protests. This was the last, and it was peaceful, Jim nez told The Associated Press on Thursday.

"He told me that he was going to fight for the rights of Colombia, but he did not have bad things in mind because I didn't teach him that. My son said he wanted a better country, without so much corruption," Jim nez added.

Deep social discontent that festered throughout the coronavirus pandemic is drawing thousands of Colombians into the streets to vent their anger at the government. But the mostly peaceful, nationwide protests have turned deadly, with at least 26 people killed and human rights groups warning of increasing abuses by security forces.

The unrest has become a clear warning sign of what other Latin American countries could face from a weary public frustrated by the health crisis, poverty and inequity.

Colombia's demonstrations erupted April 28, despite virus lockdown orders, after the government of President Ivan Duque introduced a tax reform that would have squeezed the middle class. The administration withdrew it four days later, but the protests continued and grew as reports emerged of police violence, deaths and disappearances.

Initially led by unions and supported by college students and social organisations, protesters have turned out in more than half of Colombia's


Next Story
Share it