Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Protests in Medellin on May 19. Photo: Joaquin Sarmiento/AFP via Getty

Colombia has been wracked by protests for a month, with critical supplies cut off due to roadblocks, another nationwide strike expected on Friday and accusations of police brutality growing louder.

Why it matters: "Things are worsening every single day," says Marta Lucía Ramírez, Colombia's vice president and foreign minister. She says the roadblocks are preventing food and critical medical supplies like oxygen from being transported between Cali — the epicenter of the protests — and the capital, Bogotá.

Speaking to a small group of reporters Thursday at the Colombian ambassador's residence in Washington, Ramírez said the roadblocks and the destruction of public transport systems were "destroying the conditions for normal life."

  • She described Colombia's crisis as a worrying test for the country's democracy, in part because of the intense political polarization on display.

The big picture: The protests began on April 28 over tax reforms proposed by conservative President Iván Duque. The reforms were withdrawn, but the protests grew into a major social movement focused on poverty and inequality that has drawn tens of thousands into the streets.

  • The protests have attracted international attention mainly due to allegations of police brutality and the rising death toll, which the government puts at 17 but human rights groups say is at least 50. Four police officers have been charged with homicide.
  • At least 55 Congressional Democrats have called for the Biden administration to cut off assistance to the Colombian National Police over the alleged abuses.
  • Ramírez met on Thursday with members of Congress as well as USAID director Samantha Power and Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council senior director for the Western Hemisphere. She'll meet with Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Friday.
  • She asked the Biden administration for donations or loans of coronavirus vaccines and other help in fighting the pandemic, which she says is driving the social unrest.

What she's saying: "We agree that there are so many reasons to be concerned about the future, to have some fears for the future. So many people have lost their jobs [and] loved ones," she said. Poverty has spiked to such an extent that "in a year we lost so many years of efforts."

  • At least some of the frustrations pre-date the pandemic, as the unpopular Duque also faced large protests in 2019.
  • As for the anger around police brutality, Ramírez said it resembled the aftermath of George Floyd's killing in the U.S.

What's next: Ramírez said the strike leaders were making demands like a basic income for 30 million Colombians that would be "impossible" to deliver due to budget constraints and that they're "not in a hurry" to make a deal despite entering into negotiations with the government.

  • Thus, she fears the crisis could drag on for some time.

Worth noting: As the meeting ended, Ramírez mentioned that one reason for the divisions in Colombian society was that men were in charge — a possible signal of her own ambitions ahead of the presidential elections next year.

Go deeper

"Defund the Police" debate continues in Denver, but opposition remains

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In the absence of national support from Democrats, the movement to defund the police in the year since George Floyd's murder is shifting to the local level and cities like Denver.

Why it matters: The continued calls to overhaul policing in Denver come as crime reaches new highs and public safety is emerging as a potent political issue.

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congress passes $2.1B Capitol security funding bill

U.S. Capitol police officers testify during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot on July 27. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via Xinhua

A $2.1 billion Capitol security funding bill is heading to President Biden for his signature after the House and Senate passed the legislation on Thursday.

Why it matters: The legislation provides funding for the Capitol Police, the National Guard and other agencies to cover the costs incurred during the Jan. 6 riot.

Biden details new vaccination initiatives as COVID cases surge

Joe Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden detailed several new initiatives on Thursday to get more Americans vaccinated and slow the spread of the Delta variant.

Why it matters: The plan outlines aggressive next steps from the federal government as COVID-19 cases surge across the country due to the contagious Delta variant and as demand for vaccines has tapered off.