The general strike in Buenaventura is ongoing as of Monday, June 5, amid ongoing negotiations between representatives of the protesters and government officials that began Sunday, June 4. Protesters continue to block access to the port and are preventing 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 have also been restricted in the city as fuel trucks are 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) have been lost due to the 21-day strike.
According to the Interior Minister Guillermo Rivera, official meetings on Sunday resulted in an agreement to create an autonomous fund for developing Buenaventura. However, the exact amount and the means of financing and distributing resources for the fund have not been agreed upon. Other protester demands, such as 24-hour access to drinking water and sanitation supply, reopening the Buenaventura hospital, increasing resources for the local health center, and a 10-year development plan for Buenaventura are still being negotiated. Spokespersons for the protesters stated that the Paro Civico ("Civic Strike") will continue until their demands are met. Further violence is possible.
The autonomous fund would be created by legislation submitted to the Congress of Colombia on July 20, 2017. According to local reports, protesters are demanding that the fund contain one trillion Colombian pesos and be exempt from budgetary control of the national government.
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 avoid all demonstrations, to monitor developments to the situation, and to consider postponing nonessential travel to the city.
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