Colombia: dialogue table for peasants, minorities

The Colombian government, campesinos, indigenous groups and Afro-Colombians have created a dialogue table that seeks to improve the living conditions of rural and minority communities. With more than 650 participants from the National Agrarian Summit, a leftist coalition of social organizations, political parties, and unions, the table is meant to be a "space of dialogue" between the groups and the government, according to press release on the Agriculture Ministry's website. Among the items up for discussion are access to land, productive projects, and human rights. The heads of the Ministry of Interior, Agriculture, Finance, and Mining are among the government officials who are attend the dialogues.

The agreement on the table came as result of the national agrarian strike earlier this year—itself called to protest the government's failure to comply with commitments made from a previous strike in 2013. After talks between the protesting agriculture sector and the government, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos sanctioned a new law in August which to provide financing and "reactivate" Colombia’s agricultural sector. The new table of dialogue will be known as the Mesa Unica, or the Single Table, and will inaugurated at the National Center for Historic Memory, a government-financed conflict research group. (Diario del Huila, Oct. 4; Colombia Reports, Oct. 3

  1. Colombia reaches deal with indigenous peoples

    In a deal approved by the country's main indigenous organization ONIC, Colombia's government agreed to a new development plan for the country's native peoples. The National Planning Department (DNP) is to move $2.5 billion to the Ministry of the Interior for use in the country’s indigenous communities, and to create offices specifically for these communities to present development projects. ONIC is coordinating indigenous representatives in talks with the government through the Permanent Dialogue Table. (TeleSUR, Jan. 21; Portafolio, EFE, Jan. 20)