Residents of Isla Baru, an island off Colombia’s Caribbean coast, have collectively decided to abstain from voting in Sunday’s presidential election, national media reported.
The roughly 2,300 participants say they are protesting the government’s attitude toward the island, located in the Caribbean Sea a few miles from the coastal city of Cartagena de Indias.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
According to the coastal El Heraldo newspaper, many of the island’s inhabitants live under poor conditions, with no drinking water, basic infrastructure, or access to comprehensive education.
Leonard Vallecillas, a legal representative of the local Community Council, told El Heraldo that locals were disappointed by the longstanding negligence they feel they’ve been shown by the national government.
“Abstention is total,” said Vallecillas. “We believe that, although on many occasions we have made known our dissident voice, we have not received any positive response.”
Instead of voting, Baru locals have decided to take to the streets with banners, expressing their sense of exclusion from Colombian democracy. The manifestation is peaceful, according to early reports, though authorities are monitoring the area.
“Only when they were going to take down the voting boxes, did the people get a little angry. However, at this point everyone is quiet. Of course, with the firm belief that no one will vote. We will prepare a stew for the whole community that joins us in this day,” said Vallecillas.