The road between the departmental capital cities of Medellin and Quibdo was blocked by up to 1000 indigenous Embera people 4AM Wednesday morning .
The demonstrators are demanding the resumption of services in a local hospital which has had a work stoppage since March 25 due to an unpaid debt of $438,000, which is owed to the hospital. It currently means that some 5,900 people have been left without health coverage.
The departmental government of Choco and health insurance company Caprecom promised to pay $180,000 toward the debt after a similar protest on April 3 and 4.
The demonstrators are also demanding a pharmacy, and the amplification of the 1500 acre Sabaletas reserve which they say is currently insufficient for the population of 500, according to Territorio Chocoano.
El Colombiano reported that they are additionally protesting for the completion of a high school which was left unfinished last year.
John Freddy Acevedo Taborda, the spokesperson for the El Carmen de Atrato municipality where the hospital is located, said “They promised to get up to date with obligations they made regarding the local hospital so that it can once again serve the community, but they did not.”
Acevedo said that until now there has not been a shortage of food in El Carmen but that it is possible not only there, but also in Quibdo, seeing as they have threatened to close off another route, which connects Quibdo to Pereira, the capital of Risaralda department.
Choco is one of the most inaccessible departments of Colombia with only two roads connecting the departmental capital to other cities.