A hooded man entered the residence of Colombian Ambassador to the US, Francisco Santos, on Friday in Washington, D.C., at approximately 7:30 p.m and vandalized Ambassador Santos’ residence, spraying red paint on the walls and stairs at the entrance of the house. He then wrote on the floor a sign that reads ” MURDERERS” in Spanish.
The terrifying message directed at the ambassador comes amid protests in Colombia. Colombians in many American cities showed in support of the demonstrations triggered by the announcement of a tax reform that has already been withdrawn by the Duque administration.
Washington police are searching for the subject who vandalized the ambassador’s house through the use of security cameras in the area. However, it is still not possible to decipher how this person managed to enter the residence.
What is happening in Colombia?
The protests from day one have turned violent and there have been multiple confrontations between demonstrators and members of the police. In the city of Cali – epicenter of the demonstrations – confrontations have left 19 civilians and one uniformed officer dead. Demonstrators denounce police abuse, while the police denounce the infiltration of armed groups in the marches where, in addition, there have been attacks on uniformed officers with sharp weapons and firearms.
Despite the withdrawal of the tax reform and the resignation of the Minister of Finance, Alberto Carrasquilla, the National Strike Committee insists on maintaining the protests. The committee also demands the Colombian Government to reform the police, establish tariff protections for national production, the withdrawal of the Health reform in Congress, the establishment of a Basic Income for more than 32 million households and a subsidy for small and medium enterprises.
In addition, the demonstrations have caused multiple blockades along the roads in Colombia, which has generated shortages in the main cities of the country: Cali, Medellín, and Bogotá, the capital.
The blockades in Cali have caused open confrontation between civilians. In that sense, members of the community recently had a confrontation with members of the indigenous movements who are also in the protests helping to perpetuate the blockades.
The actions of Iván Duque’s government
President Iván Duque ordered the mobilization of the security forces in the city of Cali and Valle del Cauca, and actions are being taken to lift the blockades that affect the supply of vital goods such as food and fuel.
The police have also reported the presence of illegal armed groups, such as the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) within the demonstrations perpetrating acts of terrorism to destabilize the population.
Although the president has called for a major national dialogue, a good part of the sectors of the strike have not wanted to comply with the call. Last Friday, Duque met with the leaders of the Decentes movement – a coalition of center-left parties – led by the former governor of Antioquia department, Sergio Fajardo.
On Monday, Duque met with the National Strike Committee, which is leading the national strike in the country. The government also held meetings with former presidents such as César Gaviria and there are expectations of a possible meeting between Iván Duque and opposition leader Gustavo Petro.