June 15, 2007 I am going, you marched ... Students leave en masse to the streets. What is behind?

My colleagues and I do k now why we went to protest. We are against the new law transfers because it will shift resources to education, housing and health, to give to the war and the pa ramilitaries demobilized, "he said in a firm voice Cambio a student of the Colle ge Santa Librada in Bogota last week. "I organized people to go. Two weeks ago w e who take the school. We believe that Uribe betrayed us because despite being c ommitted last week to review the draft amendment to the transfer, approved it wi thout looking. We will keep marching until the government listens to us, "he sai d to himself a student of the Colegio Brasilia. And although Congress finally ap proving the constitutional reform was the central motif of the marches that took place in several cities, two facts central surprised observers. The first, the massive presence on the streets of young people from all strata and different ag es. The second, the political speech of the protesters that surprised those who believed that apathy is the norm for new generations. Alvaro Camacho, Professor of Social Movements at the University of Los Andes, was clear in his diagnosis. "You can not underestimate young people." Traditionally As has become commonplac e to say that Colombia is one of the most stable democracies in Latin, is widesp read belief that social movements, among them the student movement, have had no such significant developments in other Latin American countries. However, the co untry has not been oblivious to events student throughout their history. If in t he last few weeks, thousands of students from public colleges and universities a ctively participated in marches, and in the early twentieth century, in 1909, st udents protesting against President Rafael Reyes who proclaimed dictator. The de monstrations led to riots, was declared a state of siege and some young leaders ended up in jail. In the '20s came a resurgence of the student movement inspired by the Manifesto of the Students of the University of Cordoba, Argentina, reported in the journal conducted by maestro University Germ ain Arciniegas. It was a proposal to include students and faculty in the governa nce of universities, so that the allocation of Chairs and faculty positions be m ade on a competitive basis and not to toe, for the defense of university autonom y and academic freedom, among other things. In Colombia, students also seek to e nd the monopoly of the conservatives and the Church in higher education. It was a decade of general agitation was history by the strike of the employees of Unit ed Fruit in 1928, which ended in the slaughter that immortalized García Márquez in One Hundred Years of Solitude. The following year, on June 8 during a demonst ration to commemorate the slaughter and protest the appointment as Chief of Poli ce of Bogotá General Vargas Cortes, responsible for the massacre, was killed a s tudent from National University: Gonzalo Pérez Bravo . "Bogotá led all the spoil s of Gonzalo Bravo walked in silence, then the teacher wrote Arciniegas. There w as more than six pine boards painted: on them, a silk flag. With its vivid color s, no crepe, gold, scarlet blue enamel: an insurrection. Clear: University march ing behind the Republic. " Since then, the June 8 date became martyrs to remind students which would increase the 8 and June 9, 1954 during the dictatorship of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. To commemorate the murder of Bravo, the students organized a peaceful march to the presidential palace. During the tour there wer e skirmishes with the police but they came to the center and completed the act, when students were already back in the University City Public Force appeared and fired. He fell Uriel Gutierrez. The next day, for the first and only time 10,00 0 students from the Javeriana, Andes, Rosario, Gran Colombia, External, National , American high school and some joined in a protest at the tragic event. The mar ch went to the intersection of 13th Street with seven career meetings, where tro ops appeared to prevent the passage. The students sat in the street lie to their leaders attempted to communicate with the then Government Minister Lucio Pabon Nunez. Then, on 12th Street appeared military reinforcements. Suddenly, volleys rang out: nine students fell dead and nearly 50 were wounded.€They were declared "heroes of Democracy." The Government attributed the tragedy to a communist and

laureanistas maneuver. Those were times of the Cold War and McCarthyism, but also the beginning of the end of the honeymoon between the Government and civil society had seen in the General a chance to overcome political violence. The dis appointment of the students grew and in 1957, when General Rojas expressed its i ntention to screwed up power and traditional party leaders and Church leaders or ganized a general strike to overthrow the student movement was key, perhaps with out intending to, had become a major counterweight to the dictatorship. Reforms and Seventh Ballot In the following decades and under the influence of the Cuban revolution, the Vietnam War and the student revolt of 1968 in Paris, rebounded the student movement. At universities such as National and UIS were formed the f irst political cadres that gave rise to the Student Labor Movement Colombia, the ELN and the United Front, next to the Father Camilo Torres. From there arose a generation of academic leaders that eventually killed in the fighting, as Jaime Arenas, one of the most prominent student leaders of the decade, was murdered in Bogotá by the ELN in 1972. The 70 and 80 were trade union agitation over studen t protest, but in 1989 that apathy was shaken by the assassination of Luis Carlo s Galan. Then came the proposal for a referendum to convene a Constituent Assemb ly to seek a solution to the institutional crisis created by the threat of drug trafficking. A group of students proposed to collect thousands of signatures to give the floor to the initiative. "The youths were protagonists in the shaping o f the student movement can still save Colombia, which promoted the seventh ballo t, say political scientists agree Gabriel Murillo and Ruben Sanchez. For his par t, former Minister Rafael Pardo wrote in his book First Hand: "The student leade rs, from civil society, this process of mobilization joined by sections of polit ical parties and media." However, as Sánchez Murillo both agree that "the force that started this was not sustained political work and student participation in politics resumed his usual parsimony." Reinvigorated Judging by the recent demon strations in different cities, the student movement appears to have regained the lost vigor. It seems coincidental that the University of Tolima is unemployed, that of Cauca has suspended classes after the mobilization of hundreds of students, the National front Bogotá similar difficulties, in Medellín, Bucaraman ga and Manizales students have come to protest in Bogotá only 32 public schools have been taken by students in the May Days. And the new is the participation of high school students. However, some argue that this does not mean the revival o f the student movement. They believe, rather, it is a mobilization manipulated, not spontaneous. "Young people do not have much prominence" says Murillo. Seems rather instrumentalized by teachers who try to use them to validate their claims . " View shared by the councilor of Bogotá Lariza Pizano: "I think there are a l ot of manipulation in all this, the product of the confusion of many." The Ombud sman's Office, which anticipates a work of permanent support of the marches, bel ieves the problem can not be seen in black and white. "As well as attending scho ol groups aware of its purpose, which are enforced and are clearly identifiable, we saw how many children are handled by university groups to face with the poli ce," says Ascanio Tapias, coordinator of accompanying. Jaime Jorge, a student of 27 years at the National University, believes that there are manifestations ind uced by any particular political sector. "What you have is a national sentiment, but the government does not listen because it's stick and fish have ears." And law student Cristina Castro thinks that today "young people participate differen tly from other student movements like the Seventh Ballot." Jesus Alejandro Villa , National University political scientist, argues that young people are not simp ly protest plan, losing or recocha class. "I think when a young man comes to def ending rights such as education is because it has a life plan in which to contin ue their education is important." Perhaps this is why most of students sees symp athy demonstrations. According to a recent survey Datexco, 65,9% of young people believe that it justifies the national strike promoted by educators in the publ ic sector. Children's school participation of children in the recent protests is different note of this apparent resurgence of the student movement. "What makes a new character, almost unprecedented, to what happened in recent days is the m

assive participation of high school students, which until now had been almost invisible in social processes, "said Jesus Villa, a student at N ational. Meanwhile, Undersecretary of Education in Bogota, Cajiao Francisco, arg ues that mass participation of students in the protests, especially the upper gr ades , reflects an increased awareness compared to public affairs. "In recent ye ars the District has linked school in programs such as Personeros School, School of Overseers and Young Controllers, instilling interest in issues affecting the ir environment. It is very logical that address the issue of education have deci ded to be linked to the protests. "Thus, the student Castro says:" To us mobiliz e widespread discontent with higher education, university autonomy and freedom o f expression that are the basis of a democratic society. "Datexco According to f igures, young people are welcoming the participation of college students in the demonstrations: 51.2% of respondents between 18 and 25 years believes that they should participate in the demonstrations encourage educators, compared with 70% of respondents aged over 25 who expressed their total disagreement. Within this 70% are the countless parents who have expressed concern that in the days of pro tests called for the involvement of authorities to take their children out of th e demonstrations shouting anti-government speeches and held signs in their schoo ls and trade unions with slogans against privatization of education. "It is the height that teachers require children to get into require them to protest and sa y nothing in the house, "he told a mother CHANGE family." Protest is when a mino r and coerced by teachers or older peers is a practice round with the illegal "s ays Carlos Ballesteros , chairman of the National Association of Parents. Over 5 0% of children who participated in the marches in May did pressured by their tea chers and classes as running threats or without notes, and at least 30% of publi c schools in Bogota and other cities were visited college activist groups. "The Department of Education acknowledges that many children Bogotá marched coerced b y peers and teachers." There are students who do not understand how they ended u p participating in marches, are very small, "says Cajiao. We assume that teacher s considered valid also invite you to attend to them. "How far? The student unrest that lives by these days, the country can ask: How far could this movement? "You can not predict anything," said Professor Chan. You need stu dents, with all the information, they feel an examination trial problems they fa ce. They can move only with slogans. " Students like Jaime and Cristina Jorge Ca stro see a future beyond the business cycle. "The protests are high proactive," says Castro. The street demonstrations have been accompanied by opportunities fo r discussion on the National Development Plan and cutting transfers. " And James adds: "As the system does not allow the debate we have to protest, but we are c ertainly reaching farther than just a place: young people are thinking and we ar e doing." This awakening of young people as some would describe the phenomenon i s occurring not only in Colombia. In Chile, high school students recently went t o the streets to demand changes in the educational system. And in Venezuela, you ng opponents of the Chavez regime gained prominence in the protests against the closure of RCTV television channel and have turned en masse to the streets to sh ow they are interested in political issues and can be mobilized in an organized manner. "As a country is more polarized, more young people are interested in par ticipating," says Lariza Pizano. The truth is that demands persistence and abili ty to articulate them, depends on the success and consolidation of the student m ovement that might re-opened an important space for dialogue in the country. Be seen whether the participation of students due to a genuine interest in issues a ffecting their life or is the result of manipulation, but most likely it will be a mixture of both.€And it fits into society and the Government hear the claims of a youth, once again, is asking for the floor. THE INFILTRATION Chavista The authorities argue that left groups have infiltrated public schools and from there manipulate and coerce children to participate in the marches. They have al so found that teachers and university groups have come in recent months by teach

ing. Since February, in schools in Bogotá as Maria Montessori, Achilles Parra, R odrigo Lara Bonilla, INEM Santiago Perez, Inem Kennedy and Francisco de Paula Sa ntander, among others, has been common to see college activist groups. "They com e in any time of two, disrupt class with teacher permission and start saying that the Gov ernment is leaving us no education, who will close the school, we have to fight and to follow the movement of President Chavez of Bolivarian Venezuela ", he tol d a student in the Inem CHANGE Kennedy, one of the institutions taken by the stu dents for five days. The parents have not escaped the same purpose." This year w e have been cited several times and teachers tell us what will happen to educati on, "says one parent who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals to thei r children. According to them, the government will close the schools and univers ities. We also discuss the importance of following the Bolivarian movement of Ch avez. "All of this is compounded by the publication of advertisements and messag es in newspapers such as The Miranda Francisco Miranda college, and broadcasters like the INEM Santiago Perez de Bosa, which invited to join the march and parti cipate in leftist student movements. And the movement of serials like Barricada internationalist anti-imperialist resistance movement university Skin Head, whos e members have a shaved head. As this there are another 10 groups identified by the authorities, Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Government of Bog ota. According to an intelligence report known as CHANGE, after the Second Confe rence of the FARC earlier this year, the Secretary's order was infiltrated unive rsities, public schools and poor communities with militants posing as student an d community leaders. "Through interaction with students and parents, the FARC ha ve co-opted to entire families who pay them a salary close to 800,000 pesos to p articipate in all the protests and engage in fights with police "the report says . This is happening in places such as Bosa, Ciudad Bolívar and the neighboring m unicipality of Soacha. "SPEAK THE SCHOOL On Wednesday, CHANGE was in the police headquarters in Bogota where minors were arrested 30 students who had participat ed in marches and could speak with some of them. These are their stories. "I cam e to protest because the institution where study is useless. The rooms are down, teachers are lousy and silver from school is spent on other things. I know noth ing about the law transfers but I guess it is just that, a student of the College District Viceroy Solis. "They tell it to run but a 'battery' to go to break things or get to thr ow stones," College student of Brasilia. "The Police are super violent. I grabbe d her by the hair and pulled me out of a store where I was. As I kicked and boli llazos told me they knew where to hit me that I was not noticing, but failed bec ause I bruised left leg and now I'm going to report, "College student Tecnisiste mas. See Terms and Conditions. COPYRIGHT © 2007 CEET Reproduction in whole or in part, translated into any lang uage without written permission from the owner.