In response to a refusal of local women to have sex with their husbands, Colombia’s army engineers said Thursday they have started constructing a road that connects an isolated coastal town to the rest of the country.
Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Roque told Colombia Reports that engineers had finally begun repairs on the highway, which stretches between Barbacoas and Junin in the southwestern Nariño state, after a series of administrative hurdles and delayed material orders had left large unpaved sections in such a state of disrepair that they were virtually unusable for automobiles.
Roque said that repairs were almost complete on 16 of the 34 miles of total highway, costing $21.2 million. The other half would cost an estimated $53 million and funds were still in the process of being allocated to continue paving the “difficult stretch.”
“We are going forward,” said Roque. “We expect to be able to succeed in fulfilling this dream.”
He added that the Army was working with the community to bring “development, progress and well-being” to the town of Barbacoas.
Judge Maribel Silva, the coordinator of the “crossed legs movement,” told Colombia Reports that the sex strike was called as a protest, showing that women could be “movement-makers” reclaiming their “human rights.”
The reason for the sex strike, in addition to drawing media attention, was to demonstrate the severity of the problem caused by the neglected highway. Getting to the nearest hospital would be a 12 to 14-hour ordeal.
By refusing sex, Silva said, the women “were showing that there would be no reason to have more babies if they were only going to die on the highway.”
According to Silva, some women had resumed having sex with their husbands since the Army started work; however, others continue to abstain until the government fulfills its promise and the paving of the highway is complete.
Colombia has a history of sex-strikes. In 1997, Colombia’s military chief Manuel Bonnet called for a sex-strike among the wives of paramilitaries, guerrillas, and drug lords to promote peace. In 2006, wives and girlfriends of gang members in the city of Pereira purportedly withheld sex from gangsters who failed to turn in their arms after their city suffered a period of violence that left 480 people dead.
- Interview with Lt. Coronel Ricardo Roque Salcedo
- Interview with Judge Maribel Silva