Havana – The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) are describing the meeting being convened this week by social sectors in Bogota to discuss agriculture as a significant landmark for peace.
“We welcome the forum; there is nothing more momentous than the opinion of the people and their social organizations around the essential problem of the conflict, that of land and territory, because the fate of Colombia depends on its solution,” said guerrilla commander Ivan Marquez at the resumption of talks with the government of the South American nation.
In his traditional press statements at the Havana’s International Conference Center – permanent venue of the talks created on Nov. 19 – insurgents stated that to advance towards ending the conflict, popular participation in its criteria and proposals is a key factor.
Our delegation will consider and defend at the roundtable the views emerging from reflection and consensus of the forum, said Marquez, who heads the FARC-EP team in the talks with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos.
From December 17 to 19, more than 1,200 representatives of Colombian civil society are attending a meeting on comprehensive agricultural development, supported by the United Nations and the National University, which is expected to provide substance for the dialogue underway in Havana, according to an agreement between both parties.
With regard to the land question, the first item on the agenda of the FARC-EP-Government talks, Marquez said the guerrilla supports family farms and the strengthening of small and medium rural properties to benefit a sovereign economy.
Marquez also urged through his statement read to reporters, compensation for about six million displaced people and “return to the hands of the people of more than seven million hectares of land that were seized by state terrorism.”
As usual, since the beginning of the process in which Cuba and Norway act as guarantors, the government delegation – headed by former Vice President Humberto de la Calle – offered no statements or comments to media present at the Conference Center to cover the talks.
Popular participation in the process created to seek an end to decades of armed conflict has also been defended by Santos’ cabinet.
In that sense, the representations of the Colombian government and the FARC-EP in the roundtable have agreed on several ways to collect proposals from Colombian society, among them an website activated on December 7.
According to reports here, the talks in the current cycle, the second since the creation of the dialogue in Havana, will be held until Friday, December 21, and then will recess until January 8, when the popular criteria emerging from the comprehensive agrarian forum held in Bogota should be received.