Colombia: Southern Bogotá strikes against landfill and for better social policies

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Source: ALBA Movimientos / The Dawn News / September 29, 2017

“Close the landfill and pay the social debt” – Photo credit: Uniminuto Radio

Four localities of the South of Bogotá, capital of Colombia, conducted a civic strike on September 27, to protest against problems that affect the area such as the Doña Juana landfill and the lack of adequate policies on health, environment and youth.

The protest was held peacefully despite the presence of militarized government forces threatening the citizens.

It is the first time since the signing of the Peace Agreements that diverse sectors of society unite to protest: popular sectors, recycling workers, students, and professors, to demand the construction of a dignified territory with their active participation. Demands include the closing of the Doña Juana landfill, the inclusion of recyclers in the trash treatment contract, an alternative model of trash treatment, and quality public education for the south of the capital. Protesters took these complaints to the district hall, the government of Cundinamarca and the national government.

José Guzmán and Flor María Ramírez are recyclers and attended the strike because they don’t want the Doña Juana landfill to grow, because the rights of recycling workers have been violated by different politicians and governments since Uribe and Peñalosa. Besides, due to the fact that workers are excluded from the garbage treatment contract for the sum of 5 billion pesos, and don’t get compensated for dedicating their life to this activity. They also reject the hike in cleaning taxes that citizens of Bogotá have to pay.

The education sector of the south also joined the strike. Professor Willy Carmona, who works at the Ciudadela Engativá in the Bosa locality, told ALBA that Enrique Peñalosa is giving away public education to the private sectors, increasing teacher outsourcing. At this point in the strike, they joined the protesters in Tunjuelito, Bolívar city, Usme, to create a dignified life and good living. They confirmed that the strike has no end date and they are demanding a round table  with the district hall, the government of Cundinamarca and the national government to tend to their demands.

Some Colombian personalities supported the strike, such as Chamber representative Víctor Correa, who spoke at the TransMilenio station. He said that the current administration is one of the worse that Bogotá had, because people are dying, transport is getting worse, the South doesn’t have a public university and the Mayor insists on having a system that disposes of solid trash by burying it, which contaminates nature severely. He is working to avoid the extension of the environmental license for the Doña Juana landfill, so that it ceases to grow, and to find an alternative way to deal with garbage.

 

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