I am Bianeth Hernandez Barraza, I am 20 years old and I am a young Colombian activist and a university student in social communication and journalism.
Why and when the movement began in Colombia?
Since April 28, different social protests have started in Colombia. People were tired of an oppressive and corrupt government. One of the main reasons for the national strike was the citizens’ rejection of various reforms that the government wanted to implement in the country. Reforms that are not constitutionally viable for a country that is in crisis in the midst of a pandemic, such as a health tax reform. But beyond that, the people reject a government that has murdered thousands of social leaders, injustices, corruption, and thousands of other reasons that they would not finish naming. Even though we are in a pandemic, we have decided to take to the streets, because the government kills us more than Covid 19. We seek a change in the country, we want to change violence for dialogue and peace.
How and by what means the government try to choke the insurgence?
The government has tried to silence and censor us, they have killed and injured thousands of young people and using public institutions such as the police and the army. However, many have joined the movement seeing all the injustices and human rights violations that the state itself has violated.
What are the means of action use by activists ?
In the streets, children, young people and the elderly are summoned to demonstrate, using banners, dances, songs and drawings. But despite this, the state continues to repress us. The country’s large political groups do nothing to prevent it, although many have attended to speak with the president, he has insisted on the unlimited use of public force: weapons, silencers, tanks and even tear gas have been thrown at people who they go out to march.
Thousands of people have actively participated in the strike, either in person, on the streets, or virtually, which is what I focus on. Virtual activists focus on sharing and disseminating true content about what is happening on the streets; We seek that citizens have alternative options to the traditional media (television channels, radios, etc.), which most of the time lie and the news is not consistent with what is really happening in the country.
We use social networks to spread information, facebook, instagram, twitter and telegram are our main allies. We open spaces through the internet where all people have the option of finding out and giving their opinion freely without censorship. Live recordings are made of the marches, including violations by the police, and promotion is made so that more people know about it.
The movement in which you are taking part is part of a world-wide awareness, there is a connection between your movement and revolutionary movements in other countries, whether it is an ideological sharing, a convergence of demands or concrete collaboration in actions?
I definitely think that yes, in various parts of the world we have a feeling that invites us to change and peace, to open spaces for democratic dialogue among all. We are tired of oppressive governments and corruption, many countries in the world and Latin America such as Chile, Mexico, Venezuela share this revolutionary ideology of wanting to change our countries for the better, demanding and requesting that our rights be fulfilled.
A revolt based on the desire for a better world, given the evolution of things today, has your vision of the “ideal world” changed? What do you hope for your country and, more broadly, for the world?
I do not believe that there will ever be an “ideal” world, there will always be murders and crimes, I don’t believe that a single person can change it. But if there is something I am sure of, it’s that if we all come together, we can make a change. Everything counts, from going out to march, donating, raising awareness among our friends or even spreading information from social networks.
The Colombian situation has gone around the world on the social medias, what would you say to the citizens who support you and are ready to help you from their country?
To all the citizens who support the cause of the national strike and the revolution in Colombia, I tell you not to give up. The people are superior to their leaders, and that is why we have to make ourselves heard. We are more, we are the voice of those who were silent.