An appeal by the Community of Sant'Egidio in Colombia: "between selfish indifference and violent protest there is always another possible option: that of dialogue"

May 6 2021 - COLOMBIA


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In recent days, Colombia has seen a surge in violence and social confrontation. Conflict has been triggered by a tax reform project aimed at hitting the lower and middle classes particularly hard. In addition, there are allegations of poor public health managment of the Covid-19 pandemic and a severe economic crisis. This has resulted in increased unemployment and poverty. It has been estimated that 4 out of 10 Colombians live in poverty, i.e. 43% of the population. Over 500,000 businesses went bankrupt last year, 2.8 million more people than in 2019 live in extreme poverty.
Besides that, general discomfort due to political corruption and delayed implementation of the peace agreement has been growing. This situation led to a national strike and numerous protests in several cities all over the country. The demonstrations have caused more than 20 deaths and nearly a thousand injuries. Several international organisations have denounced an excessive use of force on the part of the police and military forces.
The Community of Sant'Egidio, looking at this crisis with the poor's eyes who are paying most for it, has launched an appeal for peace and dialogue among the different social groups. It reaffirmed that violence is never a solution to problems in a democratic society. Only dialogue can really open up paths of coexistence, justice and development for the country. Sant'Egidio in Colombia renews its commitment to build a society that - starting with the poorest - can overcome a long history of conflict and violence and open a season of reconciliation and peace for the new generations. We strongly believe in the words of Pope Francis "between selfish indifference and violent protest there is always another possible option: that of dialogue." (Fratelli tutti, 199).