Colombia’s class war turns hot on the streets of Cali

Published in The Guardian

With Katherine Aguirre

Aconvoy of brightly painted buses descended from Colombia’s westernmost mountain range, heading for the city of Cali, where tens of thousands had taken to the streets demanding a shake-up of the country’s deeply unequal status quo.

Along the way, well-wishers cheered on the caravan and drivers honked in approval. But as the procession approached Cali’s prosperous southern reaches, it reached a roadblock set up by men in civilian clothing, believed to be from wealthy neighbourhoods nearby. Then the shooting started.

“Colombia tried to peacefully resolve class conflict with the peace process, which sought to tackle the root causes of conflict” said Katherine Aguirre, a security expert at the Igarape Institute in Cali. “But as we are seeing right now, we haven’t managed that.”

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