A group of Colombian coffee producers have been on strike since February 25th because of the low costs of the coffee bean, an issue that has generated systemic poverty among its producers.
The association has been in a state of crisis for more than a year, “motivated by low bean prices, the reevaluation of the Colombian peso against the dollar as well as the decrease in exports, the high prices of fertilizer and insecticides, the low harvests due to heavy rains and the plague of mildew [affecting coffee beans]”, according to a report in Colombian newspaper El Espectador [es]
The coffee farmers claim that the government has not provided any guarantees to protect them from the situation, and despite an agreement [es]between the government and the National Federation of Coffee Producers, many farmers continue blocking the country's roads, arguing that they do not feel represented by the leaders of the organization.
A huge number of images in support of the coffee growers’ strike have circulated on Facebook, such as this one from the Universidad Pública de Colombia's [es] page, in which they refer to the farmers as heroes:
The following image, posted by El Rebelde Medios informativos [es], alludes to the harvest:
Weimar Ospina Muñoz [es] shared one of the images that has circulated widely on social networks, denouncing aggression by state security forces against the farmers.
Un país donde la fuerza publica no tiene respeto por nadie. Acaso creen que lo que se sientan a almorzar lo producen la oligarquía o el gobierno???… No … lo producen sus víctimas el campesino que horror.
A country where the state forces don't respect anyone. Do they really think what they have for lunch is produced by the oligarchy or the government???… No… it's produced by the farmers, their victims, how awful.
Like Facebook, Twitter has also become a platform to express opinions about the coffee farmers’ strike through the hashtags #Parocafetero [coffee farmers’ strike], #Colombiadicecafeterostienenrazon [Colombia says the coffee farmers are right] and #yoapoyoelparocafetero [I support the coffee farmers’ strike].
Teto (@johnceta) [es] agreed:
While Nury Rivera (@Nury_Rivera) [es] said:
And Leszly Kálli (@leszlykalli) [es] shared a video that has circulated across social networks showing a farmer who becomes emotional while explaining the situation:
At the time of publication, the coffee farmers had announced [es] that they would march to the capital of Bogotá on Tuesday, March 12, if the government could not offer a solution before then.