Afro-Columbian communities in the city of Buenaventura just halted weeks of general strikes over their inhumane living conditions, which have left them without adequate hospitals, schools, jobs or drinking water.
Ignored by the American media, the uprising has been met with violent repression by the police. Tuesday, the strike committee announced it is temporarily suspending the strike, on the condition the government complies with its key agreements. But the residents still have a long way from addressing the social ills that plague the city.
Buenaventura is ravaged by structural racism and poverty, and is a result of the human rights failures of the U.S. Colombia Free Trade Agreement, enacted n 2006. The city has expanded because of the deal, and as a result has funneled residents into dangerous jobs, were workplaces are plagued with violence in retaliation for organizing. “Sixty-three percent of Buenaventura’s residents who are Afro-Colombian live under the poverty line, and unemployment is 64 percent.”