Green Hope Students Respond to the Protests In Colombia

Jason Rong, Editor and Writer

Colombian protesters (Leon Hernandez)

 

Main Conflict of the Protests in Colombia

“I am wearing a costume that represents death: it represents the massacres that have been occurring in Colombia under this government, the killings of community leaders in the countryside, deforestation, the growth of poverty,” Ramiro Velasco, an art teacher in Colombia, said to BBC News. Decades of government incompetence, such as the failure to protect community leaders and decrease the poverty rate, have led to the current ongoing protest in Colombia. With thousands of Colombian protesters pouring into the streets each day, the scale of the rioting is growing, and the death tolls are getting higher. The confrontation between police and protesters has claimed many lives; the Human Rights Watch reported 38 deaths since the protest began in April, and the UN Watch reported 98 injured. Hoping to find out more information about the protest, Green Hope Falcon writer, Jason Rong, conducted a survey of students, and, to his surprise, many who participated in the survey were unaware of the ongoing protest in Colombia. It seems like the news has hardly made it out of Colombia despite all the chaos.

Green Hope Student Responses

According to the survey, 62.5% of Green Hope High School students had never even heard of the protests happening in Colombia. Of those who had heard of the protest, only 14% of them heard about it through televised news broadcasts. Furthermore, when asked to describe the main conflict of the protest, 28 out of 32 students were unable to. Considering the severity and scale of these protests which are taking place in Colombia, in contrast with the overall lack of awareness within the Green Hope student population, it is clear that media coverage of these protests has been insufficient in reaching student populations. With this in mind, it is both a shocking and somber situation, as some of the biggest ongoing protests in the world appear to be almost unknown to the younger generation, begging the question of whether the issue lies with a lack of major news coverage or a disconnect between Green Hope students and the methods in which they receive information.  Regardless, many students in the Green Hope community appear to be uninformed on the situation in Colombia, and seemingly in line with the more international reality, this lack of awareness has left Colombian citizens fighting a lonely battle. 

 

A Survey of Green Hope Students and their Awareness of the Colombian Protests
The majority of students at Green Hope were unaware of the protests.

 

Colombian Protesters Fighting Corruption 

Without outside help, Colombian citizens have taken matters into their own hands and done everything they can to spread their message. People from various backgrounds, such as opera, political science, and more have all united to protest against the Colombian government.  Liliana Rodriguez, a classical singer in Colombia, sings opera in public to support the protest. According to a BBC interview with Liliana, the protest is the result of citizen dissatisfaction and goes beyond the tax law that President Ivan Duque imposed. Another protester, Yacilia, a Colombian political scientist, stated in an interview with BBC, “Hundreds of community leaders have been killed since the peace deal with the FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). We have a poster here with the names of almost 300 former Farc fighters who were killed after laying down their weapons.” According to Yacila, the killing of community leaders is one of the causes of the protest. Still, even though Colombian citizens such as Yacila and Liliana are making progress in fighting oppression, there are still things that we here at Green Hope can do to make a difference.

What Can The Green Hope Community Do?

Green Hope students can make a difference, and it all starts with spreading awareness of Colombian media coverage. Since awareness among our population has been so low, bringing attention to the protest is essential. Check the news, share fact-checked information on social media, and make sure to discuss events with friends and family. Even more so, by emphasizing the need for awareness for Colombia, hopefully, we can help create a change in the culture of our community. We can become more aware of other conflicts as well, such as another crisis developing in the world, the protests in Belarus. Remember, anything helps!

 

Content on the situation in Belarus is coming soon, so make sure to check back at the Falcon for additional information, student responses, and ways to help.

Have a great day Falcons, and remember that as members of the Green Hope community, we can always use our voices to make a difference!