Three hundred women in the municipality of Barbacoas in Nariño department near the Pacific Coast have gone on a sex strike. They are withholding sex until their male partners pressure the local government to fix 35 miles of roads, from Barbacoas to Junin, a distance which can take a vehicle from 12 to 14 hours. Many have died trying to get to the hospital in Pasto, Nariño’s capital.
The men of Barbacoas say they’d rather have the women go on a hunger strike (and of course they would say that). The men, evidently, sound resentful women are showing they, too, can exercise power.
Colombia has a history of sex strikes: In 1997, Colombia’s military chief Manuel Bonnet called for a sex strike among the wives of paramilitaries, guerillas, and druglords to promote peace. In 2006, wives and girlfriends of gang members in Pereira withheld sex from gangsters who failed to turn in their arms after the city suffered a period of violence that left 480 people dead.
There has been little to document the success of such strikes but it seems it would be like living in Garcia Marquez’s Macondo. Yet, why mock its creativity? It reminds me of Antanas Mockus’s genius plan to hire mimes to shame drivers into obeying traffic regulations.