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Coffee Growers’ Strike: The Crisis Behind Colombian Coffee

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:

Los héroes en Colombia si existen.

“Heroes in Colombia do exist!”. Image shared on Facebook by the Universidad Pública de Colombia.

The following image, posted by El Rebelde Medios informativos [es], alludes to the harvest:

"Yo apoyo el paro cafetero"

“I support the coffee growers’ strike”. Image shared on Facebook by El Rebelde Medios Informativos.

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.

Cafetero herido en enfrentamientos con la policía.

A coffee grower injured in a confrontation with police. Photo shared by Weimar Ospina Muñoz and other Facebook users.

Weimar said:

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].

Derly Franco (@franco_derly) [es], referring to the peace process currently taking place between the government and the FARC guerrilla group, said:

@franco_derly: Lastimosamente Tenemos Un Presidente Que Prefiere Hablar Con Asesinos, Que Con Campesinos..! #YoApoyoElParoCafetero

@franco_derly: Unfortunately we have a president who would rather talk to murderers than farmers..! #YoApoyoElParoCafetero

Teto (@johnceta) [es] agreed:

@johnceta: Los terroristas piden indultos y pensiones vitalicias! Nuestros campesinos sólo piden que les paguen lo que trabajan #yoapoyoelparocafetero

@johnceta: The terrorists ask for pardons and life pensions! Our farmers only ask to be paid for their work #yoapoyoelparocafetero

While Nury Rivera (@Nury_Rivera) [es] said:

@Nury_Rivera: Si nosotros mismos no apoyamos las causas de justicia en nuestro país entonces quien

@Nury_Rivera: If we don't support the cause of justice in our country then who will

And Leszly Kálli (@leszlykalli) [es] shared a video that has circulated across social networks showing a farmer who becomes emotional while explaining the situation:

@leszlykalli: Inevitable el sabor amargo del café con el sufrimiento de nuestros campesinos caficultores

@leszlykalli: Coffee inevitably tastes bitter with the suffering of our coffee farmers

 

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.

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