Spanish – After a week of marching, the indigenous Minga arrived in Bogotá to join the protests scheduled by leftist groups for October 21 in the Colombian capital.
Indigenous leaders call for a meeting with President Ivan Duque after he rejected their delegates in Cali. Today, about 7,000 indigenous people have gathered at the Palacio de los Deportes.
In total, 27 diverse groups, including student groups, unions, and community organizations, joined the Minga on its march to Bogotá.
La Minga llegó a Bogotá y desde Pacifista! estaremos en las calles acompañándola. En pocos minutos arranca para la Plaza de Bolívar. pic.twitter.com/mtNtpF63cm
— ¡PACIFISTA! (@Pacifistacol) October 19, 2020
According to the director of the Presidency of the Republic, Diego Molano, President Duque’s refusal to meet with the leaders of the Minga is because these leaders are seeking to impeach him.
What about safety in the city?
Before the arrival of the Minga in the city of Bogotá, the mayor, Claudia López, first argued that she was not going to leave the neighborhoods without police accompanying the Minga. Later, she reversed this decision affirming that “it is disrespectful and unnecessary.”
López said she would rely on the indigenous guard of the Minga itself along with the managers of the coexistence of the Mayor’s Office to ensure the safety of the march. The Mayor’s Office of Bogotá hosted the Minga at the Palacio de los Deportes.
The reasons for holding the march include the assassination of social leaders, the failure to comply with the peace accords with the FARC narco-guerrilla, the failure to respect pacts reached in past mobilizations, and finally, the accusation of the alleged concentration of power by the president.
— W Radio Colombia (@WRadioColombia) October 19, 2020
The response of the Commissioner for Peace
Although the Minga argues that the government has not fulfilled its commitments to the marchers, the High Commissioner for Peace, Miguel Ceballos, stated that: “The National Government has fulfilled its commitments to the indigenous Minga through an investment of more than 640 billion pesos, which corresponds to 80 percent of the commitments made.”
He added that “as far as the Cauca social plan is concerned, an increase of 40% has been achieved, going from 900 billion pesos in 2018 to 1.3 trillion in 2020.”
The arrival of the Minga in Bogotá last Sunday caused a stir. In a message published by Senator Gustavo Petro on Twitter, one of the protest banners in the photo reads: “It is necessary that Uribe dies,” referring to former President Álvaro Uribe Vélez.
— Juventud Humana (@Juventud_Humana) October 18, 2020
It is a message in which he practically invites the assassination of the ex-candidate. It could constitute the flagrant commission of a crime. Until the time of publication of this article, Gustavo Petro had not removed the message from his social media.
No lo creí. Me toco ir al twitter de Petro y confirmarlo: y sí, replica el trino de sus juventudes donde se invita a asesinar a @AlvaroUribeVel. La diferencia es propia de la democracia. Pero ya esto produce asco y merece repudio total. Solo refleja la violencia del petrismo https://t.co/Ug3gHrdSGF pic.twitter.com/Pm0yPXWnsg
— Rafael Nieto Loaiza (@RafaNietoLoaiza) October 18, 2020
Risk of spreading COVID-19
The ruling Democratic Center party (CD) and sectors close to the government have argued that the Minga brings along the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
The opposition has defended the Minga, arguing that legitimate protest cannot be stigmatized. They assure that they arrived in Bogotá because of the refusal of President Duque to satisfy their demands.
They want to keep the national strike going
Three senators from the Democratic Center – José Obdulio Gaviria, Fernando Nicolás Araujo, and Carlos Felipe Mejía – initiated legal action against the indigenous Minga for not complying with the government’s biosecurity protocols.
The judge ruled in favor of the Minga. This October 21, the Minga will join other leftist movements in promoting the continuation of the national strike that began in November last year.
The government of Iván Duque has not ruled out the possibility of meeting with Minga leaders.