As we’ve reported before on “First Voices Radio,” since April 28, 2021, tens of thousands of Colombians have been protesting in the streets in just about every part of the country. They’ve been participating in a months-long National Strike against the government, demanding widespread change in its social economic program, its response to the COVID pandemic, and respect for the defense of human rights. From the outset, the Colombian State tried to block the protests, first through a court order forbidding the protests in Bogotá. Then, as Colombians refused to obey this order, security forces responded with violence. The results have been alarming. While the massive scale of the protests have died down considerably in recent weeks, Colombian human rights groups are demanding justice for the victims of what they’re calling state-sponsored repression. With that in mind, an international fact-finding mission is currently in Colombia to investigate some of these developments throughout the country. Hofstra University professor Mario Murillo is accompanying the mission, and he joins us now from Bogotá. Mario is professor of Journalism and Latin American studies at Hofstra, and is the Vice Dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. Mario has written about and reported on Colombia for many years, and is a regular guest and collaborator with “First Voices Radio.”
Our returning guest in second half-hour is Max Wilbert. In January 2021, Max launched an occupation of a proposed lithium mine at Thacker Pass in northern Nevada with another of our frequent guests and commentators, Will Falk. Max is a writer, organizer and wilderness guide, and has been part of grassroots political work for nearly 20 years. He is an author and his essays have been published many places, including CounterPunch and Dissident Voice. His latest book is “Bright Green Lies: How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What We Can Do About It.” Max has been involved in fighting both Canadian and Utah tar sands, in resisting industrial-scale water extraction and deforestation in Nevada, in advocating for the last remaining wild buffalo in Yellowstone, in solidarity work with Indigenous communities in British Columbia, and in campaigns against sexual violence. To keep up with the news about Thacker Pass, check out the website at protectthackerpass.org and Protect Thacker Pass on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.