Colombian government announces “dialogue commission” for Catatumbo
/ Martes 6 de agosto de 2013
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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos expressed his desire to make the Catatumbo "a sort of pilot project for peace". Therefore, he warned that the dialogues with the peasants should not imply "any restrictions", or conditions.
Thus, the head of state corresponds the goodwill demonstrated by the peasants, who this weekend unblocked roads and highways they had maintained blocked, after reaching an agreement with the government to convene a negotiating table in which their demands and complaints should be taken into account.
The agreement was reached after a series of meetings between the two parties. Olga Lucia Quintero, a leader of the Peasant Association of Catatumbo, asked President Santos to name "high-level delegates with the ability to resolve the problems" and “not pass it on to other ministries”.
One of the main demands of the peasants is the creation of a Peasant Reserve Zone, a legally existing figure, which provides a certain level of autonomy to preserve certain areas, destined for agriculture. The minister of Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón, has made some comments about the Peasant Reserve Zone being “that part of the country that serves as a "rear" for the leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)”, statement vigorously rejected by the peasants.
The mobilization in Catatumbo, which began peacefully, has left four farmers dead and over 50 injured.