Colombia’s public school teachers announced a strike for Wednesday and Thursday over substandard healthcare, increased violence and government failures to live up to previous promises.
According to teacher union Fecode, the teachers’ most common concern is their inability to timely access healthcare because of the mismanagement of funds.
Their healthcare intermediary, Fiduprevisora, owes more than $218 million (COP750 billion) to healthcare providers, which results in teachers being denied healthcare or receiving it too late.
A growing concern in violence. “We’ve had more than 10 of our colleagues murdered this year. More than 680 teachers were threatened in this period,” Fecode president Nelson Alarcon told newspaper El Tiempo.
Every day we receive intimidating messages in which they threaten us with death. We’ve received letters to the trade unions, especially Fecode, signed by the “Aguilas Negras.” We also suffer from the stigmatization by the Democratic Center party.
Fecode President Nelson Alarcon via El Tiempo
In early September, the teachers plan to march to the southwestern Cauca province, where teachers have been suffering extreme violence, mainly between illegal armed groups.
This march is in protest of the ongoing violence against teachers, union leaders, human rights defenders and other activists who have seen violence increase during a peace process with demobilized guerrilla group FARC that began in late 2016.