On Tuesday, May 6, protests in Buenaventura ended after 21 days following an agreement with the government. Under the deal, the government will provide the city with a USD 518 million (1.5 trillion pesos) autonomous investment fund. Legislation submitted to the Congress of Colombia on July 20, 2017, will create a 10-year development plan for Buenaventura that gives the city government 50 percent of all tax revenue from companies operating in the city, increase access to health services, and guarantee drinking water and sanitation services for the local population. However, it has not yet been determined who will manage the fund and how it will be financed.
During the 21-day strike, protesters blocked access to the port and prevented commercial trucks from leaving the city. Media sources reported that a truck was set on fire on the morning of Friday, June 2 after attempting to pass through the barricades. Gas services were restricted in the city as fuel trucks were unable to safely travel between Buga and Buenaventura. Officials reported that as of Thursday, June 1, an estimated USD 69,153 (200,000 million pesos) had been lost due to the strike.
Buenaventura suffers from poor socioeconomic conditions and social services, compounded by a lack of decent health care and education, inequality, and poverty. Additionally, crime rates are relatively high due to the presence of gangs involved in drug trafficking. Almost half the city has no access to drinking water, while 62 percent of its residents are jobless. Infant mortality and malnutrition are particularly high. Corruption is endemic and considered exceptionally high for even Colombian standards (the city's three past mayors are in prison for embezzling public funds and the current mayor is under investigation).
Individuals present in Buenaventura are advised to monitor developments to the situation.
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