Colombia: No to Cell Phones With Blood

“Como estaba configurado mi Facebook, la cuenta de correo y un amplio grupo de contactos del chat BlackBerry, el ladrón utilizó mi equipo y comenzó a enviar mensajes, lo que me llevó no sólo a la tarea de poner el denuncio sino que además enviar mails masivos informando del hurto y que no se tuviera en cuenta lo que enviara mientras me cancelaban el plan”.

Víctima de robo de celular referenciada en el blog 24 horas noticias

“Since I had been setting up my Facebook, e-mail account and an ample group of contacts on BlackBerry chat, the thief used my phone and began sending messages, which led me not only to file a report but also send massive e-mails informing everyone of the stolen property and asking them to ignore what was sent while I canceled my plan.”

Victim of a cell phone robbery referenced [es] in blog 24 horas noticias [24 hour news.]

Public problem

Image by Flickr user JonJon2k8 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Image by Flickr user JonJon2k8 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Cell phone theft and its subsequent illegal commercialization have represented a problem of public order for Colombia, so much so that this year the national government has decided to tackle it through Decree 1630 of 2011, which as website Geek the planet describes [es], establishes that:

La venta de terminales móviles nuevos y usados en el país solo la podrán adelantar las personas autorizadas entre ellas los proveedores de redes y servicios; cualquier persona que los proveedores de redes y servicios autoricen, y las que el Ministerio TIC igualmente autorice.

The sale of new and used mobile terminals in the country can only be carried out by authorized people, among which are Internet and service providers; anybody that the Internet and service providers authorize, and those that the ICT Ministry also authorizes.

With respect to this, the person heading the ICT Ministry in Colombia, Diego Molano Vega [es] (cited [es] in blog, affirms that:

Con esta medida no queremos restringir el libre mercado sino proteger la vida de los colombianos y frenar el derramamiento de sangre que se ha generado a través de los robos de los celulares. Quiero hacerle un llamado a los colombianos a que denuncien los robos porque a partir de ahí podemos enfrentar a los delincuentes.

We do not want to restrict the free market with this measure, but rather protect the lives of Colombians and thwart the bloodshed that has been generated due to cell phone robberies. I would like to call out to those Colombians to denounce thefts because starting now we can face the delinquents.

In the future, the government expects to construct a base of negative statistics, composed of information from reportedly stolen cell phones [es], for their definite deactivation after the month of July. Additionally, cell phone vendors will have to deliver a certificate from the Commission of Communications Regulation of Colombia (CRC) to the buyer.

As expected, the decree's implementation generates a wide range of opinions and on May 25, in certain cities such as Neiva, traders protested arguing that “this goes against the right to employment and only provides incentives to large monopolies.” [es]

On Twitter, under the hashtag #nomascelularesconsangre (no more cellphones with blood), you can find publications like that of Alexander Vásquez (@alexgreencode):

Yo soy sobreviviente, hace un año en la 90 con 11 me apuñalaron en la pierna

I am a survivor, a year ago on 90th and 11th, they stabbed me in the foot

Or this one from ICT Minister, Diego Molano Vega (@DiegoMolanoVega):

A mi duele como colombiano que maten colombianos por robarles el celular

It pains me as a Colombian that they kill Colombians to steal cell phones

Links of interest:

- On Lanació you can find citizen commentary regarding the traders’ protests in the city of Neiva [es].

- On Facebook there are photos from the traders’ march in  Medellín [es] against the implementation of the Decree (from local daily El Colombiano.)

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