martes, 27 de agosto de 2013

Broadcaster maps out Colombia's rural strikes

The broadcaster Caracol mapped out on 27 August the various farming-sector strikes that were affecting several Colombian departments for over a week now, and which had begun to cause shortages in places and raise food prices in Bogotá for blocked roads. The Government was reportedly to meet with strike representatives that evening. In a colour-coded and interactive diagram using Google maps, Caracol listed and categorised the sectors currently on strike, citing by region: the motives of discontent, estimated numbers of people affected by strikes and the value of economic losses incurred. The pictoral report indicated that the strikes had reasons that included subsidy demands, calls for state protection against several Free-Trade treaties the Government has signed, rising fuel prices and in cases Government action against illegal mining, the means of living for certain rural groups. The Minister of Agriculture separately rejected calls that he resign and said his ministry could not be blamed alone for the strikes. Francisco Estupiñan Heredia told Caracol radio on 27 August that he would stay in his post "until the President tells me to go," as he had made a "commitment" to serve the public. The President seemed already to have made public observations or a mild rebuke for his handling of the strikes. Mr Estupiñan observed however that the Ministry was not the only one responsible for strikes; he cited the "intransigence" of potato farmers, who he said had chosen to strike instead of pursuing talks in July.

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