• Mariana Trujillo-Lezama

Banging Kitchen Items: Are we Saying Thanks, or Just Stirring the Pot?

In Colombia, as it is in South America, the collective act of banging pots and pans, with whatever you have but mostly a wooden spoon, is an act of protest. Quarantined or not, historically, the sharp resound of the metal symbolizes the strength of the people coming together as much as it represents the hunger of a starving nation. The combination of all the the clinging sounds is a clear manifestation of the rejection of the systematic racism and the human rights violations that continue to take place after decades of war, in my unbelievably beautiful home country.

Pots and pans hanging on a wall

While Colombians are forced to remain anxiously at home under a strict military lockdown, this pandemic isn’t nearly the most dangerous threat we collectively face. It isn’t now, and it wouldn’t have been years ago since Colombians know what it is like to live at war, we know no peace. Way before this global sanitation crisis started, Colombians knew what it is like to collectively grieve, to collectively fear, to collectively resist. Still, we are yet to find out what it feels like to collectively celebrate.

Before COVID19 changed Vancouverites’ lives forever, and many of them experienced direct and/or indirect restrictions and scarcity for the first time ever, 7 million Colombians already lived in poverty and 2 million in extreme poverty, meaning over 30% of Colombians live under the poverty line. In some provinces, as it is in Guainía for instance, more than 60% of the population does.

For over 50 years, Colombia’s government has been involved in a fight against guerrillas. This conflict has been triggering poverty, violence, and inequality, to name a few. Briefly, this conflict can be explained as the result of the contest for political power that takes place between two schools of thought: liberal populists and conservative colonialists. In 1964, in response to the ongoing state violence, the countryside working-class allied and armed together to fund an irregular army (guerrilla) that until present day follows a communist ideology. Reacting, the right-conservative wing generates its own irregular army, the paramilitaries. Mercenaries formed and coordinated by the elite, responsible for keeping the interests of the upper class and multinational corporations (such as Canadian mining companies). The main parties in the conflict are Colombia’s government, liberal guerrillas and conservative paramilitaries. The responsibility for the victims is not limited to the guerrillas but includes Colombia’s military force and the paramilitary army, leaving an estimated 7.7 million people internally displaced. Making of Colombia the country with the highest number of IDPs according to the UN.

With little to no governmental aid, Colombians have seen themselves obligated to look after one another, leaving social leaders, grassroots and community organizers, water and land defenders and theirs at their own luck.

Please join us on the collective effort of lightening the burden of their fight against all systems of oppression. If capable, consider donating to any of the following organizations taking action and advocating for Social Justice, equality, and freedom for all in South America and the Latinx community beyond borders, largely conformed of undocumented and temporary farm workers.

Sex Workers Emergency Fund

Org: Red Comunitaria Trans, Bogotá, Colombia

IG: @redcomunitariatrans


Trans Women Housing Fund

Org: Trans Collective En[Poder]Arte, Cali, Colombia

IG: @en_poder_arte


Trans Latinx Advocacy Work in the US

Org: The TransLatin@ Coalition, USA

IG: @translatinacoalition


Guajira, Cesar, Alto Putumayo and Chocó COVID19 Emergency Fund

Org: MAIS, Colombia (Indigenous and Social Alternative Movement)

IG: @movimientomais


Temporary Farm Workers Advocacy and Support

Org: Dignidad Migrante Society, Vancouver, BC



To find out more about the relationship between Colombia’s armed conflict and Canadian mining companies, we encourage you to google “Canada brand.”

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