Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Shoemakers' Protest

'No more Chinese shoes,' marchers demand.
A cross on Plaza
Bolivar blames
contraband shoes..
Shoemakers marched down Ave. Septima today to protest against the importing of cheap Chinese-made shoes.

Many of Bogotá's shoemakers, concentrated in the low-income Restrepo neighborhood, are unsophisticated people with home workshops, who evidently can't compete with large scale Chinese factories - even tho the Chinese have to ship their shoes halfway across the globe.

It sure seems like a bad deal for Colombia to put a lot of skilled craftspeople out of work just to have slightly-cheaper shoes. And, without good jobs, who'll buy those shoes, anyway?

But the solution isn't subsidies, as the government has doled out to potato, coffee and other farmers. That's an unsustainable solution. Instead, perhaps they could provide these people training and business advice, tax incentives and other assistance.

A requiem for the Restrepo neighborhood, known for shoemaking and other leatherworks.

A protester carries a model bus. I have no idea why.
A shoemaking workshop in the Restrepo neighborhood.

A man in his home shoemaking workshop in the Restrepo neighborhood.
Colombian or Chinese imports? A shoe store in Bogotá
The sign says 'Mr. President, We Are Victims.' 'No to Chinese products.'

The protesters' banner says 'No to Asian products.'

Protesters march down Ave. Septima today.... 

...with riot police close behind.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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