ALAI, América Latina en Movimiento
Petro calls for a Constituent assembly for peace and democracy
The public prosecutor Ordoñez has confirmed, on Monday January 13, the dismissal of the Mayor of Bogotá following a fraudulent disciplinary investigation relating to a new model of cleaning for the Capital that retrieved this service for the public sector, that was previously being provided by four powerful business clusters linked to the para-political mafia and corruption, causing serious harm to the collective interest of millions of citizens.
A "coup d'état" has been carried out against thousands of electors who voted for Petro's proposal and made him mayor of the city for the period from 2012 to 2015.
The mayor had employed all of the legal recourse consecrated in the Constitution and laws to defend himself against the onslaught of the ultra-right entrenched in the prosecutor's office as well as of the principal media, who had undertaken an abusive manipulation of the news to justify the barbarity of reactionary Uribism*.
The following night there was a new mass concentration in the Plaza de Bolívar to reject the arbitrary action and assert the mobilization of the citizenry.
Petro has said that what has happened is a demonstration of the despotic and antidemocratic nature of conservative power within the oligarchic Colombian State. He maintains that a radical change of the power regime is needed to establish peace and participative democracy led by citizens.
The idea of a Constituent Assembly has been outlined by the FARC delegation in the Havana dialogues. The rejection of the dominant bloc has been permanent and president Santos has said that he opposes such an extraordinary mechanism, although he has recently shown himself more open to support its convocation.
Throughout the year 2013 the proposal for a Constituent Assembly has been on-going, especially among social movements in this period. The political crisis in Colombia today requires a mechanism with these characteristics and it is necessary to persevere in this demand.
In a statement on January 13, Petro proposed an Action Plan to defend the “Human Bogotá” plan, his continuance as District Mayor and the convocation of a Constituent Assembly.
This agenda involves the following prioritized actions:
First. To call a special meeting with agrarian and indigenous leaders for Tuesday January 14, in order to prepare an agrarian summit that would propose new strikes and demonstrations by campesinos to demand the fulfilment by Santos of engagements incurred following last year's strikes, and to demand a democratic and modern agrarian reform that would bring justice to the country’s poverty-stricken campesinos.
Second. Permanent occupation of the Plaza de Bolívar, the major historical centre of Bogota, with assemblies of every sector of citizens that make up the public interest. These gatherings would be: Tuesday January 14th for environmentalists; Wednesday 15th, for educators, students and the educational community; Thursday 16th, the healthcare sector; Friday 17th, a meeting of women and of all feminist movements; Saturday 18th, another gigantic demonstration to occupy the Centre of Bogotá in a peaceful, pluralistic, joyful and diverse manner.
Third. Demonstrations in the 20 localities of Bogota with mass concentrations in each of the local Plazas, with the presence of the Mayor. Petro said that he would begin with Bosa, Kenedy, Engativa and Suba.
Fourth. Permanent action for Canal Capital, through networks and mass communication media.
Fifth. Mobilizations throughout Colombia in support of the Human Colombia project.
The proposal is that the constituent power, as a response to crisis, be fully expressed, indicating the political changes required by society.
So let's get to work.
January 14 2014
(Translated for ALAI by Jordan Bishop)
- Horacio Duque has a degree in Social Science and History from the Universidad del Quindío (Armenia, Colombia); author of several books and articles on Colombian political history.
* NdT: Uribism: the political current linked to ex-President Alvaro Uribe.
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