Activist Removed from Presidential Visit for Protesting Colombia School Food Program Cuts

By: PanAm Post Staff - Apr 21, 2017, 9:30 am
El presidente Juan Manuel Santos en la entrega de tabletas electrónicas de la cual fue expulsada la activista Juliana Hernández (YouTube)
President Juan Manuel Santos delivering tablets at an event where activist Juliana Hernandez was removed. (SIG – Andrés González)

EspañolColombia’s school food program aids children in public schools who come from families that can’t afford to provide a meal during the day, but which is under threat of even further cuts from President Mauricio Macri.

Student activist for the Constructores de País (Country Builders) Juliana Hernandez, of Medellin, took advantage of a school visit by Macri to protest against the cuts.

“I learned about the event via social media,” she said. “I went there with a sign.”

President Santos arrived in Medellin to deliver 45,000 electronic tablets with Governor Luis Perez, which made Hernandez feel indignant about the event, as the money for those tablets could have been used to feed students.

Hernandez showed a video on the second floor that tried to show the President her point of view, but was immediately approached by the National Police, who escorted her outside the room.


“As soon as Santos began delivering the tablets, I took out my banner and started demanding that he give children food again,” Hernadez said. “They need it to study and what he was doing today was pure populism.”

She said it was great that Santos was giving away technology to schools, but that he does it in a superficial way, and noted that 49 percent of the department’s food program has already been reduced.

“You must have a very bad heart to take food away from more than 25,000 children in Antioquia,” she said.

Esta es la pancarta que mostró Juliana Hernández en su protesta (Foto: Juliana Hernández)
“Cynical Santos. You took food away from more than 25,000 kids in Antioquia and you come with a populist campaign giving away tablets.” (/Juliana Hernández)

Budget cuts in school food programs is not new. More than 267,000 students are reportedly at risk of going hungry due to cuts in 2017. Cuts over the last three years have reportedly reached 52 percent.

Sources: El Tiempo

Repression in Venezuela Targets Protesters to Prevent March Even Taking Place

By: Max Radwin - Apr 20, 2017, 4:24 pm

Though the massive march came to an end March 19, those opposing President Nicolás Maduro's adminsitration did not leave the streets to protest against repression in Venezuela. Brutal repression, death, injury and arrests the day before only inspired the country's political opposition party The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) to announce that they would keep to the streets to demand restitution of constitutional order. Repression of the demonstrations began early in the morning in the state of Carabobo, where police began shooting pellets inside San Joaquin building complex around 10 a.m. Protesters in the capital of Caracas wouldn't gather until an hour later, starting in the neighborhoods of Altamira and Santa Monica. But the Bolivarian National Guard did not wait for opponents of Maduro to gather in big numbers and organize. At all expecting meeting points, they began shooting tear gas to break up demonstrations. Ultimately, protesters in Caracas were able to concentrate in Santa Fe and Caurimare, as routes to La Candelaria, El Paraíso and San Bernardino were broken up and too heavily guarded. Mayor of El Hatillo David Smolansky met demonstrators in Caurimare, rallying the crowd there to remain organized and civil. "We are gathering to protest in a peaceful and non-violent way," he said. But it was Maduro's troops that turned the day violent, as paramilitary forces arrived in Santa Monica, El Paraiso and part of downtown Caracas just after midday with shotguns and tear gas. Thirty minutes later, members of the opposition began to gather on the Francisco Fajardo Expressway and the Prados del Este Expressway while continuing to march along Rio de Janeiro Avenue. In minutes, they blocked the highway surrounding Las Mercedes. But there was confusion and lack of organization. Many of the protesters did not seem to have a definite plan or concrete objective, which caused stalling and then clashes between police and protesters on Avenida O'Higgins. Police ambushed others in Chacaito with tear gas and shotguns. Helicopters flew over the highway, and are expected to drop tear gas, as they did a week before. The Bolivarian National Guard began to repress protestors on the Francisco Fajardo highway, and the march slowly started to disperse from there. So far, two deaths have been counted — a 17-year-old male and a 24-year-old female — both of which were the result of paramilitary violence.

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