Tuesday, June 15

Shooting clashes between civilians in the Colombian city of Cali


Correspondent in Bogotá

Updated:

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Valle del Cauca dawned closed, the department whose capital is Cali, the third most important city in Colombia and the epicenter of the most violent protests of the last 13 days that have shaken the country. The reason for the closure of the access roads, only enabled for the passage of food, medicine and gasoline until next May 14, and the militarization of the city is the decision of the president Ivan Duque after a weekend of terror that was experienced in the region, but especially in Cali, which evidenced the lack of local and national authority.

The true origin of the confrontation is not yet known. Some say that the ‘minga’ (mobilization of indigenous groups from Cauca) tried to pass through the area on their way back to their homes in the neighboring department of Cauca and they prevented it with a lockdown of armored vans; others that it was the product of the aggressiveness of the ‘minga’ in its path. What was seen was inhabitants of Ciudad Jardín, a residential area on the outskirts of Cali, patrolling the streets of their sector, armed with pistols and rifles, parked to block the passage of the ‘minga’ caravan through its streets. and shooting at it without the police or any authority intervening. Balance, eight indigenous people injured, six of them by firearm, one seriously, and two residents of Ciudad Jardín injured.

Other videos show the reaction of members of the ‘minga’, who jump out of vehicles to protect themselves and then some attack the entrance of a residential complex and even turn over and set a truck on fire. Social networks catch fire and the clamor breaks out for some authority to make a presence and control the pitched confrontation among citizens, who for days had seen coming on the networks, as residents published videos and photos patrolling the area, claiming that they would not allow more blockades – which are not carried out by the ‘minga’ but by the truck driver strike – thus announcing their determination to act in a paramilitary way.

Congressional Peace Commission

At midnight on Sunday, the president had to travel to Cali, where he held a security council, until three thirty in the morning. There he met with the Ministers of Interior and Defense, previously in the city trying to structure a response, from whom he had asked “the greatest deployment of the capabilities of our Public Force that we have.” And from there the militarization of the city and closure of access to the department, with the consent of the mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina and the governor of the Valley, Clara Luz Roldán.

On the other hand, to help reduce tension and listen to the protesters, in the morning the Congressional Peace Commission arrived in Cali, which has been joined by multilateral organizations (United Nations) to acclimate an approach that allows an exit to the tunnel that has blocked and without access to food, medicine and fuel to 22 municipalities of the 42 that the Valle del Cauca has. At noon yesterday (local time), the president’s appointment with the National Unemployment Committee was expected, an exploratory meeting that will be accompanied by delegates from the Episcopal Conference, the United Nations and the Government Peace Commissioner, Miguel Ceballos placeholder image, who, incidentally, on Sunday announced rapprochements in Havana with the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN), aimed at an eventual negotiation. Meanwhile, Bogotá is experiencing another day of protests and blockades of public transport, although the food collection centers announced that they were receiving food and thus began the process of supplying the city.

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