I Left in a Jeep, and Came Home in Dump Truck - Colombian Protests
We are living history right now here in Colombia. The Paro Nacional de Colombia, National Protest of Colombia has taken on a life of its own.
Today, I took 2 different jeeps to get to a nearby pueblo, or small town. It was a slow journey because each jeep was about 30-40 minutes to a crossing, with a 40 minute wait in the middle. Coming back, a dump truck passed by the crossing where I was waiting, stopped, the man invited me and another guy a coffee. Turns out he was on his way to the same place I was, I didn't even think twice, I hopped up in the passenger seat and said "hagale", or "let's get on with it."
In the name of getting home to avoid blockages of the highway by protesters, I was grateful for a friendly dump truck driver.
According to Bloomberg, Colombian debt has been downgraded from investment quality, to junk.
In other words, the Paro Nacional, is a national uprising - which I am, boots-on-the-ground living, right now. Currently, as I write this, there is a police presence outside my building because I live above a government office which is at risk by threats from protesters as a target. Special forces police, called GAULA, are also in my small town of 12,000. At night, we hear shots fired. The next day people are telling stories about what they heard.
No one is working, but everyone is drinking coffee. Those who are working, are anxious and running on sheer wit and adrenaline. A dump truck driver on the road today, told me a story about being menaced in Arauca, Caldas, which is a dark hole that I do not recommend to tourists or Colombians. It is rampant with strange energy, illegal gold and prostitution. For some reason the three always walk hand in hand.
The driver explained that he had stopped to eat in Arauca, and a young kid, called a "gamine" or poor street gang prototype, menaced him. Saying "Your truck would be fun to burn, because it is a GOVERNMENT vehicle." It is in fact LOCAL departmental, for the government of Caldas. We need roads here, don't burn these trucks!
He ante'd up, and told the guy, "You burn this truck, YOU are going to pay for it. Have you ever seen the federal government sell the farm to help you? It is your wife, your child, and your neighbors who will all have to pay for it in taxes - not the government. You are NOT going to burn my truck. I am going to work!"
And he was off. Colombia's recently "Peace Deal'ed" 50+ year civil war, has created a generation of men who possess the hardness required to drive trucks on death defying roads at devilishly fast speeds, and even passing each other at times - maybe even on a windy road. They use a subtle but generous signaling system to tell people who want to pass, to go ahead and pass - the road is clear.
It is a world of tough men who are defying death on a daily basis while navigating outdated bridges, landslides, accidents, heavy rains, intense tropical heat, and almost anything else you can imagine.
In between these truck drivers, buses, and private cares, are the Jeep Willy's. These are the patched, modified, and re-patched World War Two cast-offs of the American military. They possess the raw mule power and short chassis necessary to get the production from mountain to market. Most of the parts are easy to obtain or fabricate within Colombia.
Between all the protests currently happening in Colombia, there are weird things going on. Overwhelmingly, the toll booths, banks, and big box chain stores, are the main targets of vandals. If we were to look at it from an "anarchist" perspective, we could say that this is a carefully organized "confluence" of many small events set up like a set of old wooden dominoes that tremble at the slightest breeze and can destabilize the government in a country which has a relatively weak and corrupt military. The police system is even more corrupt and dirty.
The end result? A "regime change," in a country that is still feeling a bit worn out and stressed from the Civil war. People go to great lengths to avoid conflict. But, right now the safest place in the country to be, is in small agricultural pueblos close to resources and manufacturing centers. The supply chain here is quite short. And, people still know how to load, pack and run mules over the mountains. The question is WHO is behind all this?
Talk in the streets is a notion of "anti-uribism," which in a nutshell, is the same drooling, snarling, animalistic obsession and media propagandized notion of ALVARO URIBE, a man who was president over 10 years ago, but is the EVIL BAD GUY, that the mainstream media, and gossip magazines, "journalistic" documentaries, and so on. Not so very different from the US currently. The American EVIL BAD MAN, is Donald Trump.
George Orwell couldn't have invented a more surreal situation if he tried.
The point isn't to go into a political debate, but it is important to note, circling back around to Colombian Debt. The Bloomberg article says it is being downgraded because people are protesting against a sharp tax hike which is coming on the heels of economic disaster due to pandemic lockdowns and procedure.
People here are tired, and they are pissed. It has been such blatant corruption for so long, that the blood of both the guilty, AND the innocent, cries for justice. In my own concept of what I have lived in the Coffee Axis for 8 and a half years.
At this time, most of the elderly in the country, at least 70% currently, or more in some regions, have been given Bill Gate's magic shot. At almost the exact same time, children were being vaccinated in their neighborhood "health" campaigns, and COVID-paranoid parents are lining them up.
Now, the protests.
Colombia is currently paralyzed COMPLETELY, by semi-truck strikes on a carefully coordinated, nationwide basis focused on main arteries. Merchandise is not reaching the market.
I should also mention that RUSSIAN tanks are lined along the Venezuelan/Colombian border like a red domino set ready for the first strike.
Let's circle this back around to taxes. According to the previously mentioned BLOOMBERG article, Colombian debt is worthless because people rose up into the streets to REJECT the new TAX REFORM. And, are largely succeeding.
So now the cry, is going out to the world "PLEASE COME HELP US" in a campaign called S.O.S. Colombia which is telling people to ask for UN intervention - or foreign power intervention, "Because THEY are killing us." Seems like there was a lot of money pumped into the campaign - based on the quality of these "patriotiky," music videos singing about saving Colombia from its evil oppressors.
Was it Russia who did something similar during the Bolshevik uprising?
Stay with me here, I am trying to paint a picture for my readers about what I am living right now with my family, neighbors, local community and regional contacts/friends/clients and so many people who I care about here in my adoptive country.
Cities have already run out of food, and if the strike continues complete anarchy is going to drive people out of the cities. We are 9 meals away from anarchy right now, in most cities.
IF this continues, Colombia will either be consolidated under the UN, or break apart into city-states where movement is restricted and mass migrations are driven based on political ideology and local opportunity.
This is only my concept. I really hope I am wrong. But, for foreign residents in Colombia, people better start praying for forgiveness for their sins. Hungry Colombians are going to get desperate, and look to anyone they feel has power/money, for leadership, or "salvation." If you are one of those who came here to take whatever they could get, you could get your "stuff" taken - soon.
Even as I write this, I think it is time to start keeping a low profile but be ready to offer help. However, these people here are so angry, it is best to keep a low profile until order is regained, or consider leaving. Something I honestly never expected to be saying right now. Many people who have current flight tickets or cash to buy tickets, are leaving. And, I am talking about COLOMBIANS. I can count at least 3-5 individuals who have flown the proverbial coop to the US in recent days.
Honestly, I feel like I am in the twilight zone right now. Because I was able to travel to a nearby pueblo without hindrances, I did. I also had a meeting with someone too, so it wasn't a useless wandering. In any case, I am in a pocket that is relatively normal and peaceful. People drank coffee on the plaza until late into the afternoon, and as evening arrived police presence increased significantly. We went home at dusk.
In a town of only 12,000 people who are generally talking more than working, a lot of information is being passed around. There's some confusion as to who is behind the violence and vandalism. Is it the mysterious ninja forces of Alvaro Uribe (conservative president like 10 years ago)? Or, the super amazing Gustavo Petro (ex-guerilla turned environmentalist & leftist socialist, NOT communist, candidate?
Or, are there global forces trying to bring "Democracy" to Colombia?
Unless, someone else needs Colombia for food production and resources for their billions of people?
But, what about those Russian tanks?
And whose agenda does the UN follow? Will they intervene?
Will intervention be needed?
What about the CIA? They want their cocaine - wars for fun and profit need funding.
We all need money.
But, will it matter if everything collapses? And what about the rest of the world?
Definitely tell me your perspective in the comments. Honestly, I am trying to report what I am seeing and hearing candidly from the information swirling around me from different people. Colombia could be the first domino of a worldwide economic collapse.