How is Colombia facing the legislative elections? | News

Legislative elections will be held in Colombia on March 13, when citizens will vote for future members of Congress for the 2022-2026 period.


What will the legislative elections in Colombia be like?

According to the National Electoral Council, more than 38 million voters are called to the polls to decide who will make up the Senate (108 seats) and the House of Representatives (188 seats).

In addition, they will select the contenders in the presidential elections on May 29 on behalf of the Historical Pact (left), the Hope Center Coalition (center) and the Team for Colombia (right).

The legislative elections will be marked by the economic, political-social and health crisis facing the country.

Unemployment, inflation and poverty grow

The South American nation is considered to have experienced economic growth after the signing, in November 2016, of the Peace Agreement between the Government of Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP).

However, after two years of the pandemic, their economic situation has worsened. Of a total population of 50 million Colombians, more than 21 million are in a situation of poverty.

According to April 2021 data from the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), after a year of the pandemic, a total of 3.6 million people fell into poverty and 2.78 million into extreme poverty.

That government office reported that in 2021 the unemployment rate stood at 13.7 percent and this meant 3.35 million unemployed.

As for those employed, the number of them in that year reached 21.08 million, so DANE estimates that 1.2 million jobs still need to be recovered to return to pre-pandemic formal employment figures.

DANE disclosed that Colombia closed last year with 5.62 percent inflation, the highest value since 2016. The greatest variation was recorded in food and beverages (17.23 percent).

These processes were exacerbated by the pandemic, which has so far caused 6,074,155 infections and 139,189 deaths, while 5,904,365 people have recovered from the virus.

The health situation forced extensive restrictions, the paralysis of economic activities and the breakdown of productive cells, to the detriment of jobs and income.

The loss of purchasing power and the increase in food prices have had a significant impact on households.

Unanswered popular demands

The country also reaches the legislative elections with popular demands that have their origin in economic and social inequalities. These claims became more visible during the National Strike (April-August 2021) and have not yet been fully addressed by the Government of Iván Duque.

In addition to guarantees to exercise social protest, during the National Strike, the people demanded the withdrawal of the tax reform, the creation of a basic income, the defense of national agricultural production and support for small businesses, among other court measures. anti-neoliberal.

The brutal repression of the massive mobilizations of the National Strike gave rise to complaints about the violent death of 63 protesters at the hands of the public force.

The Office of the United Nations Organization (UN) in Colombia verified 46 of these deaths, and of them a total of 28 were due to police actions.

The UN also reported 60 cases of sexual violence allegedly committed by the security forces, in addition to numerous incidents of sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and other abuses.

broken agreement

Months ago, the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz) assessed that progress in compliance with the Peace Agreement does not exceed 20 percent of what was agreed.

The Agreement provided for the delivery of 3 million hectares of land to peasant families. According to a follow-up report prepared by Colombian legislators in January 2021, only 0.08 percent of that figure had been delivered until then.

According to this report, there is also insufficient progress in creating infrastructures that improve the living conditions of the rural population and allow the diversification of agricultural items, an issue that is related to the absence of the Colombian State in the rural sector.

Data from the Comprehensive National Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops shows that only 5.3 percent of the families linked to it have a productive project that allows them to earn a living honestly and not through crops for illicit use. .

Regarding the eradication of these, of the 170 Colombian municipalities most affected by violence, only 66 report more hectares eradicated than planted.

cycle of violence

The president of Indepaz, Camilo González Posso, assured that violence continues to be reproduced in the country, manifested in systematic assassinations of social leaders, massacres and the increase in paramilitary groups, among other problems derived from a government and a president (Duke) who they are enemies of the Peace Agreement.

Regarding violence, in Colombia there were 96 massacres in 2021, with 338 victims. So far in 2022, 20 events of this type have occurred with 61 fatalities.

Until last Monday, Indepaz had documented the murder of 36 social leaders in 2022 and 1,322 since the signing of the Peace Agreement to date.

The organization also documents the murder of 43 peace signatories in the reincorporation process during 2021. They add up to 306 since the signing of the Peace Agreement.

Between January and November 2021, 82,846 victims of forced displacement were registered in Colombia, in addition to the more than 100,000 caused during 2020.

According to the Single Registry of Victims, between 2016 and 2021 there were 864,815 new victims of the armed conflict, who have been the object of homicides, kidnappings and forced disappearances.