Colombia: indigenous march arrives in Bogotá

Despite an intense rain, some 12,000 indigenous marchers from southern Cauca department arrived in the Colombian capital of Bogotá Nov. 21, and established an encampment in the central Plaza de Bolívar. Leaders declared that they would not return to their lands until they were heard by the government. On Nov. 24, the marchers started to return, after the government agreed to establish a commission for what Luis Evelis Andrade, leader of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), called “a dialogue table” with the government to arrive at accords to improve the life conditions of the indigenous.” A core of indigenous leaders is to stay in Bogotá for talks on land reform, rural development, and the pending free trade agreement with the US. (El Pais, Cali, Nov. 24; Colprensa, Nov. 22)

At the massive Nov. 21 rally in support of the indigenous marchers, a public pact was announced between the leadership of the Central Workers Union (CUT) and the indigenous movement to work in coalition to confront the government of President Alvaro Uribe. CUT president Tarsicio Mora Godoy told indigenous leaders: “The CUT will march together with you so that all the violent actions against the civilian population cease, and so that the state guarantees the respect for the human rights of the people and that impunity is broken… We cannot continue fighting our struggles alone.” (Upside Down World, Nov. 24)

See our last posts on Colombia and the indigenous struggle.