Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Colombia protests lose steam, but their economic toll rises

CommoditiesJun 09, 2021 06:21PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
2/2 © Reuters. Demonstrators gather outside a local hotel where representatives of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) and union leaders meet, in Bogota, Colombia June 9, 2021. REUTERS/Nathalia Angarita 2/2

By Nelson Bocanegra

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Anti-government protests in Colombia were sparsely attended on Wednesday, but the economic fall-out of the six-week-old demonstrations is far from over, officials said.

Road blockades associated with protests have caused shortages throughout the country, interrupted exports, and hit oil and mining production.

Marches on Wednesday were largely concentrated in the capital, after union and student leaders called for protesters to "take over Bogota." Groups of hundreds gathered at several points around the city.

Talks between protest leaders and the government were suspended over the weekend over discord about a pre-agreement and the blockades.

The national strike committee, made up of unions and other groups, will adopt a new tactic for marches, union leader Francisco Maltes said, adding that the details would be announced on Thursday.

The government estimates blockades and protests have cost the economy some 11 trillion pesos, equivalent to more than $3 billion.

Many protesters have vowed to keep marching until the government makes changes to economic and social policies and tackles alleged police brutality.

Exports have been interrupted by barricades at the principal Pacific port in Buenaventura, where some 378,000 tonnes of corn and other grains are stuck, according to the agriculture ministry.

Around 1.8 million jobs connected to agriculture are at risk, Agriculture Minister Rodolfo Zea said in a Wednesday statement.

"The losses we've had in exportable products are worrying and have especially affected coffee, bananas, avocados, tilapia and sugar," he said.

At least two international buyers have suspended use of Colombian coffee because of delayed or unfulfilled shipments, the coffee federation said this week. Coffee exports fell 52% in May.

The effect of the blockade and resulting shortages was visible in the May inflation figure of 1%, well above market expectations. That sent 12-month consumer prices up 3.30%, above the central bank's 3% target.

Analysts say protests could damage Colombia's post-pandemic economic recovery after strong 1.1% growth in the first quarter. In April, the government estimated expansion could reach 5% this year.

Blockades have stopped the production of some 1.5 million barrels of crude oil and 2.7 billion cubic feet of gas, Mines and Energy Minister Diego Mesa said at a virtual conference on Wednesday.

"It's as if we stopped all the oilfields in the country for close to two days," said Mesa, who told Reuters this week he expects oil output to remain around 780,000-800,000 barrels per day this year.

Major coal miner Cerrejon recently halted production because of two blockades, but restarted rail transport on Friday.

The government says 21 people have died in connection with the protests, though advocacy groups say the toll is much higher. More than 2,300 people - civilians and security forces - have been injured, the defense ministry says.

Of 3,107 blockades which have taken place during protests, 28 were still active over the weekend, the ministry said.

Colombia protests lose steam, but their economic toll rises

Related Articles

Britney Spears tells court she wants her life back
Britney Spears tells court she wants her life back By Reuters - Jun 23, 2021

By Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Britney Spears told a Los Angeles judge overseeing her controversial conservatorship on Wednesday that she wanted her life back. The pop...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Tyler Phillis
Tyler Phillis Jun 09, 2021 6:59PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Not a single word as to why these protests are happening. Another socialist movement? If so, the flushing sound you will hear will be another South American economy being sent into the sewers of Marxism.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email