En Colombia, la policía no solo está militarizada: está controlada por los militares, algo que los críticos sostienen debe cambiar

foto por Jordan Stern (usada con permiso)

La nota se publicó originalmente en inglés, pero esta taduccion fue hecho y publicado originalmente a El Molino Online

Bogotá, Colombia — Uniformados con armaduras negras de Stormtroopers, armados con garrotes, avanzan las tropas de la vanguardia de la policía antidisturbios. Una segunda línea lanza gases lacrimógenos contra la masa de manifestantes, esparciéndose en nubes ondulantes. …


Police in Colombia aren’t just militarized, they’re controlled by the military. Critics say that needs to change

July 20th, Bogota Colombia- ESMAD battles protesters (photo by Jordan Stern, used with permission)

Bogotá, Colombia — Clad in black tacti-cool stormtrooper armor and armed with clubs, the vanguard of the riot police advance. A second line launches tear gas into crowds of protesters which spreads out in billowing clouds. Most of the crowd flees, choking and red-eyed, but hundreds of protesters in this Bogotá neighborhood near the bus station Portal de las Americas hold their ground — forming improvised shield walls in an attempt to deflect the rubber bullets and buckshot .

Wielding riot shields, batons, and tear gas, Colombian riot police march forward, beating and detaining those before them. A black mini…


Police brutality, inequality, rising violence and a deeply unpopular administration are driving demonstrations across the country

A protester in Bogota, Colombia (Photo: Joshua Collins)

Bogotá, Colombia- Protests in Colombia just celebrated their month anniversary. Tens of thousands are currently in the streets, roadblocks have stopped the flow of goods at critical commercial transport hubs and parts of the country are quite literally in flames. The movement has moved far beyond simple tax reform and into the realm of deep historical structural problems: rampant inequality, lack of educational and economic opportunities for the poor, and the Colombian state’s historical propensity for violence.

The government drew international condemnation for it’s brutal police response to mostly peaceful protests that left dozens dead, and Centro Democrático, the party…


Meet the kids of Cali, who make up the soul of a national revolution

A primera línea protester in Puerto Resistencia, Cali (Photo: Joshua Collins)

Cali, Colombia- A few hundred young women enter Puerto Resistencia, (Port Resistance) the heart of protests here in Cali, with their fists raised to the air in a gesture of defiance against the state that has been killing them in the streets for weeks. They are cheered by the dozens of primera línea, or “front line” protesters who defend the square — youths clad in improvised riot gear with homemade shields that have repelled countless police attacks on this autonomous zone they have carved out with sweat, tears and blood.

They dance in the streets. They hug. They are proud…


El debate público sobre el paro en Colombia está dominado por el gobierno y las élites, no personas como yo

Protestas en Bogota 28 de Abril (photo por Joshua Collins)

Este ensayo está escrito por un periodista ciudadano que se puso en contacto con Muros Invisibles pidiendo que amplifiquemos las voces de los menos representados en el debate público sobre el paro nacional en curso en Colombia.

Por: Jeison Oviedo Mercado

Muchos dicen que no se debe salir a marchar. Con indignación y displicencia, afirman que las marchas son manipuladas por dirigentes políticos que convierten la frustración del país en una oportunidad para sus intereses electorales. …


As thousands take to the streets in Colombia, public debate over why is dominated by government and elites, not people like me

Riot police in Bogota gas protesters during a National Strike on April 28th (Photo: Joshua Collins)

This essay is written by a citizen journalist who contacted Muros Invisibles asking that we amplify the voices of those least represented in the public debate over ongoing general strikes in Colombia. It is edited only for clarity and English translation

By Jeison Oviedo Mercado

Bogota, Colombia- People tell me I shouldn’t take to the streets. With indignation and dismissiveness they tell me protesters are being manipulated by cynical politicians who channel the country’s frustration into a political opportunity. …


2020 was a collective trauma, but also a year of the people

A street during the plague in London via Wikimedia Commons

Forty thousand terrified and angry people, dressed in rags and improvised cloth masks yelled at police, begging not to be left stranded on the wrong side of a closed frontier. Oily black smoke from trash being burnt on the Venezuelan side blotted out the sun, and riot police stood by, ready to respond with physical violence. Global plague had reached the Colombia-Venezuelan border, and the result was apocalyptic, more reminiscent of zombie films than the cold reality it truly was.

It was March, and authorities across Latin America were closing all land borders with little to no advance notice. For…


The indigenous protests that crossed half a nation to confront a president

Indigenous Guard lead a community meeting at the Minga encampment in Ibagué (Photo: Joshua Collins)

Bogota, Colombia- They say there are over 3,000 people in the indigenous caravan. I have been travelling with them for three days, riding on the roof of one the overcrowded school buses they call Chivas.

This conglomeration of indigenous communities, the Minga, in the native tongue, formed in southwest Colombia and crossed half of the nation to demand a meeting with president Iván Duque over the killing of their leaders, rising numbers massacres in their homeland and a neglect by the State that goes back centuries.

“You can trace all of this directly to colonization,” says Andres Maiz. “The Spanish…


The authoritarianism of the ivory tower is a contradiction

Widely used image from Social media (this iteration from UC Davis blog)

“‘Cancel Culture’ is out of control and threatens liberal discourse!” has become a rallying cry for those, who often for the first time in their lives, and usually from a powerful platform, face public criticism that they have historically safely ignored. Shocked by the temerity of peasants who dare to speak back to their cultural masters, they have created an increasingly popular myth to avoid adapting to a quickly changing world. Do not be fooled. They make a dangerous and dishonest argument that is designed to silence popular dissent.

In the past, this group of rich and powerful celebrities, tenured…


Our Exclusive interview with the esteemed Fyre Monkey on the right of dissent

“Fire Monke” (image owned by Joshua Collins)

I sat down with my good friend and mentor Fire Monkey (also spelled Fyre Monke) over plantains and kool aid here in Colombia to get his opinion on current events in the world. Our conversation is reprinted below, edited only for clarity and space.

JC: Hello, Fire Monkey. Thanks for agreeing to chat. Why don’t you explain a little bit about what you do.

FM: Fyre Monke

JC: Excuse me?

FM: It’s pronounced Fyre Monke.

JC: That’s what I said.

FM: No you said “Fire Monkey”, which…

Joshua Collins

A reporter on immigration and world affairs, based in Cucuta, Colombia. Bylines at Al Jazeera, Caracas Chronicles, New Humanitarian and more

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