December 7, 2013
Roadblocks still paralyze Colombia
BOGOTá — The government of President Juan Manuel Santos announced yesterday that an agreement was reached with small milk producers in the south of Colombia but roadblocks persisted in other areas of the country where farmers had their own list of demands.
With protesters belonging to different unions, the government has been unable to put an end to the roadblocks that have paralyzed most of the country since August 19.
Yesterday, Interior Minister Fernando Carrillo announced a deal with milk producers in the Ipiales area, in the Nariño department, but, as roadblocks in that area were being lifted, authorities in neighbouring Caquetá requested national assistance to deal with protesters in Florencia.
“The demands are fair but the government has already given a hand and has opened dialogue. The situation is going back to normal in Nariño,” the department’s governor, Raúl Delgado, said yesterday according to an Interior Ministry’s statement.
But in Florencia, Caquetá department, authorities were requesting the national government’s assistance in setting up negotiating table with the representatives of at least 7,000 farmers — mainly small meat and milk producers — who blocked three access roads to the city.
Protesters in the area have a wide array of demands: from inputs being too expensive to roads being in bad condition, Juan Eduardo Manjarrés, a Florencia official, said yesterday.
Manjarrés said Florencia producers only joined national roadblocks on August 26 after Santos angered them by denying the existence of an agrarian strike.
He also said that security forces have not tried to unblock roads due to the large number of protesters, but insisted in that a negotiating table need to be set up as soon as possible.
Herald with AP