Back to our emergency meeting last Friday and it was finally concluded that not only would the industry stand up for its democratic right to free trade by staging a protest in front of the Mayor’s Office in Plaza Bolivar but we would lead the campaign to call on ordinary Colombians to celebrate in peace.
To my astonishment, about 600 people showed up, many after working all night until four in the morning, wearing white t-shirts, with horns and placards to protest what we all felt was an injustice. To my further astonishment, a delegation from Asobares and representatives of the different designated entertainment districts were invited into the offices to discuss possible solutions.
As of the following Tuesday morning it was confirmed that, after a second meeting, we had reached an agreement that ley seca would only be applied between 10am and 10pm on Friday July 4 for the biggest football showdown in Colombia’s history against the host nation Brazil, in the quarterfinals.
No liquor to be sold during the game but we would be allowed to open for business as usual later that evening. Not the perfect outcome but certainly much better than what we were facing before we decided to come together and fight for our right to free trade.
As a result of the discussions with the Mayor’s Office, a number of positive resolutions were put forward by Asobares for the remaining Colombia matches. But it would be all for naught, as the heroic Colombian side was defeated.
It could be easy to conclude that we the industry are only concerned about losing money and not the greater good. Speaking personally as a resident of Colombia, a father to my Colombian children and husband to my Colombian wife, I was really upset by the violence and the appalling behaviour of the small minority who caused such huge problems for the rest of us.
Sadly we are still far away from a solution to the violence that comes along with the inflamed passions for the ‘beautiful game’. Between Friday night on July 4 and Saturday morning, at least 11 people were killed in Bogota. Police were quick to note that not all of these cases could be attributed to the Colombia-Brazil match or alcohol, but they also couldn’t rule out the possibility that some of them might have been.
By Travis Crockett
The Opinion section is a space for your views and opinions. We’ve featured articles on all aspects of life in Colombia – from the free trade agreement to bull fighting.
Whether you agree or disagree with anything we’ve written, we’d love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment below, tweet us at @bogotapost, post on our Facebook page /BogotaPost or email us at [email protected].
The articles in ‘Opinion’ are commentary, not news reporting. The views expressed in this section are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Bogota Post or its publishers. The publishers take no responsibility for the accuracy of any information published in this section.