Free Speech Radio News | 09/05/2013
Farmers’ strike in Colombia highlights impact of free trade deal on local communities
A widespread farmers strike continues in Colombia, where during the past week protesters have blocked major highways and filled the streets of Bogota, the nation’s capital. Farmers are calling for fundamental reforms in the country’s agricultural policies, including the US-backed Free Trade Agreement that they say has had devastating effects for small-scale farmers and rural communities. The protests have drawn a military-backed response from the government. President Juan Manuel Santos called up thousands of troops to respond to the protests and, according to human rights groups and witnesses, security forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas on demonstrators.
For more, we’re joined by Julia Duranti, with Witness for Peace. The group works in some of the hardest-hit regions for farmers in Colombia. She joins us from Bogota.