The nearly 40,000 indigenous Colombians who marched on Cali in a two-week cross-country trek to meet with President Alvaro Uribe in a dialogue on land reform and human rights issues are preparing to return to their homes in Cauca department to the south, after being stood up by the president for a meeting scheduled over the weekend. Indigenous representatives arrived the morning of Oct. 26 at Cali’s municipal building for the meeting, but kept waiting three hours they finally decided to leave.
Uribe was said to have been held up by news of the weekend’s liberation of a FARC hostage. Luis Evelis Andrade, director of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) said an assembly would be called to decide the next move, and said a march on Bogotá was under consideration. “Hopefully the assembly will not make the decision to close the doors” to dialogue, Andrade said. “Because I believe we must maintain the openness to dialogue.” (El País, Cali, El Universal, Venezuela, Oct. 27)