Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's Going On in Catatumbo?

Demonstrators today outside the Ministry of Agriculture demand assistance for the El Catatumbo region.
Photos at today's protest portray violence
 in El Catatumbo.
El Catatumbo, a poor, violent and remote region near the Venezuelan border, has suddenly become the center of Colombian attention. That's not just because of the ongoing strikes and violence there, but because of suspicions that the FARC guerrillas, who are negotiating peace with the government in Havana, are encouraging the violence to pressure the government. The government has accused many of the protest leaders of having ties to the guerrillas.

'Cataumbo resists.'

El Catatumbo has a long and troubled history of violence, massacres and conflicts between guerrillas, paramilitaries and government forces. Many say that the latest violence was triggered by aggressive government erradication of the region's thousands of hectares of coca leaf plantations.

'Peace with social justice.'
The government has offered assistance for building infrastructure and agriculture development in the region. But one of the most sensitive issues has been the activists' - and the guerrillas' - support for campesino reserves. These areas are supposed to be managed by peasant farmers and enjoy a degree of autonomy. But the government worries they'll turn into independent republics harboring guerrillas and other illegal groups. After all, during the early 1960s, landless peasants founded several 'independent republics' in Colombia. In 1964, the military overran the Marquetalia Republic in the Magdalena Medio and forced out its defenders - who became the FARC guerrillas.
Semana magazine asks: What's going behind El Catatumbo?
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

1 comment:

Stuart Oswald said...

So disappointing to see airheads flying their soviet hammer and sickle red flag. Really undermines their position. Don't they know that they are being manipulated and there is no salvation in the long run under that failed and enslaving ideology.