Leftist rioters in Colombia set out a range of demands in a letter to President Iván Duque on Thursday, including a renewed peace deal with the Marxist terror organization National Liberation Army (ELN).
In the letter to Duque, elected last year on a platform of taking a harder stance against the Marxist terror organizations that have destabilized Colombia for decades, the “National Strike Committee” warned that his promise of a “grand national dialogue” was not sufficient to end the riots that have rocked the country over the past eight days.
La #GranConversaciónNacional también es un espacio para hablar con sinceridad sobre la construcción de la #PazConLegalidad en Colombia. Queremos que sea un diálogo plural donde todos nos escuchemos para que construyamos propuestas concretas. #29ConversaciónNacional pic.twitter.com/Uae1QAhjwg
— Iván Duque (@IvanDuque) November 29, 2019
In the letter, also signed by 56 members of Congress and the pro-guerrilla Movement to Defend Peace, the signatories propose three demands to begin a dialogue with the government. One of these demands involves the demilitarization of Colombian cities following violent clashes between rioters and security forces.
Another demand is to hold a “national table of dialogue that is both plural and diverse,” featuring representatives from various social sectors involved in the recent protests, including the National Committee of Unemployment, the Movement to Defend Peace, the Peace Bank, local assemblies and town councils, cultural expressions, and other sectors of the population.
Este es el texto de la carta enviada por el Comité Nacional de Paro, la Bancada por la paz con la firma de 56 congresistas y el Movimiento Defendamos la paz a @IvanDuque
— CUT Colombia (@cutcolombia) November 28, 2019
Once having initiated a dialogue, the committee is demanding that the government engage and make concessions on five different issues, which include:
- Negotiations on the government’s social and economic policy, with specific regard to minority movements such as students, peasantry, and indigenous communities.
- Full implementation of the Final Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) forced through by former President Juan Manuel Santos, with a view to re-opening talks with the People’s Liberation Army (ELN), who have carried out a number of deadly terrorist attacks across the country in recent years.
- Discussions surrounding the government’s national security policy, human rights and military campaign against guerrilla forces.
- Political and electoral reform, as well as a detailed plan of how they plan to fight corruption.
- Measures to guarantee the rights of nature and the protection of the environment.
It remains highly unlikely that the Duque administration would cede to such extensive demands, although the severity of the demonstrations has placed him under increased pressure to return stability to the South American country.
The demands also make clear that the riots are being coordinated by groups with ties to Marxist terrorist organizations. The FARC, which the rioters seek to legitimize, declared war on the state this fall despite the Santos government issuing them multiple uncontested seats in the Colombian Congress.
On Friday, it was reported that the government is seeking around $1 billion in dividends from state company Ecopetrol S.A. to help fund a public spending spree that would help reduce tensions, especially among Colombia’s most impoverished communities.