Aug. 29 - Riot police fire tear gas and water cannons at farmers and their supporters,as they converged on the capital to protest President Santos' free market policies. Deborah Gembara reports.
This is what greeted Colombian farmers when they arrived in the capital. Thousands of them, many in woolen ponchos, converged on Bogota after 11 days of protests over trade tariffs they say are impacting their ability to make a living. SOUNDBITE: Unidentified protester saying (Spanish): "How can we be importing potatoes when we are the largest potato producers in Latin America? That is absurd, and is only possible because of Santos' government." Potato, corn and milk producers complain that free trade agreements with Europe and the United States have made it almost impossible to compete with cheaper imports. So far President Juan Manuel Santos says he will lift import duties on 23 products to help lower crop production costs, and is looking into other solutions for the farm sector's problems. It isn't clear at this point whether it will be enough to end the protests and labor strike that have consumed Colombia and have already resulted in one death, and scores of injuries and arrests.