Colombia: Strike in Buenaventura ends in victory for residents

Colombia’s government reached an agreement with Buenaventura residents on June 6, bringing an end to 22 days of strike action in the country’s largest port city.

A deal was brokered in the early hours of the morning that will see the government invest $517 million in resources in sectors such as housing, infrastructure, public services and justice.

In addition, the government agreed to provide extra funding for rural aqueducts, investment in the sewage system, improved access to drinking water, a new hospital and a renewal project for the Marino Klinger stadium.

The strike action in Buenaventura resulted from decades of utter neglect of the region coupled with unfulfilled promises by successive governments to address the situation in the port city.

Despite the fact that Buenaventura’s port generates US$1.8 billion in revenue for the Colombian government each year, only 3% of that money ends up in the city of Buenaventura.

The city has long suffered extreme poverty; half of Buenaventura’s 400,000 residents have no public access to safe drinking water. Furthermore, the city suffers from extreme violence related to drug trafficking and corruption levels considered exceptional even for Colombian standards.

[Abridged from Colombia Reports.]

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