Colombia ns angry at conservative President Iván Duque are hoping to channel Latin America ’s wave of discontent as they take to the streets Thursday with a long list of grievances, from persistent economic inequality to violence against social activists.
Analysts are skeptical, however, that the event will generate any prolonged unrest like that seen recently in Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador, noting a lack of unifying factors in a divided country that is one of the region’s stronger economic performers.
“They are preparing as if for a war,” said Ariel Ávila, deputy director of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation. “But it’s very vague what they’ve shared about any potential disturbances.”
Still, many Colombians say they have plenty of reasons to be angry.
Defense Minister Guillermo Botero resigned in early November following revelations that at least eight minors had been killed in a bombing that targeted a small band of dissidents. Duque’s key ally, former President Álvaro Uribe, is under investigation for alleged witness tampering. And Duque himself drew criticism after holding up photos at the U.N. General Assembly that he said were proof that the socialist government in neighboring Venezuela harbors leftist Colombian rebels – only to find out later that at least one of the images was taken in Colombia.
Unlike other recent protests, there is no one crystalizing event sparking the demonstrations, but rather an array of complaints that vary widely depending on who is asked.
Student leader José Cárdenas said demonstrators will evaluate throughout Thursday what actions they might take in the days ahead to keep momentum going.
For one, voters widely rejected Colombia’s governing party in recent local elections, suggesting many people still see an avenue for change through opposition parties, Basset said.
“It’s not inappropriate to have a security response to security threats,” she said. “The real challenge will be to make sure that it’s appropriately targeted and stays within the appropriate bounds.”Read more: The Associated Press
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