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FARC Reaffirms Commitment to Land Access in Colombia

Havana, Feb 26 (Prensa Latina) The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) reaffirmed here today its commitment to help Colombian peasants gain their long-desired access to land.

Ivan Marquez, head of the FARC-EP delegation involved in peace talks with representatives of the Colombian government, said in a statement that the FARC will spare no effort at the negotiation table, and hopes that government will not consider “kicking over the table.”

The FARC-EP’s Central General Staff called the efforts to divert attention over the real causes and players responsible for land seizures in the South American nation – a combination of State and paramilitary violence – malicious and perverse.

The note states that the situation was conceived as a State policy in order to facilitate the handover of a good part of national territory to multinationals for exploitation, through unfair contracts, resulting in severe environmental damage.

The FARC-EP warned that such accusations are actually a pretext for a new cycle of dispossession accompanied by the criminalization of peasants.

The Colombian guerrilla group is urging the creation of a high-level commission to clarify the truth about the land supposedly taken by the insurgency, and that the commission should be composed of representatives from the national government, peasants, the FARC-EP, and the international community.

The FARC-EP also condemned the methods used by the government to discredit the insurgent group.

The parties are immersed in the sixth round of peace talks which began in Havana on November 19, under the format of three days of talks followed by one day of recess. The land issue is at the heart of the attempt to end decades of conflict in the South American country.

In addition to the agricultural issue, the agenda agreed by the FARC-EP and the government includes political participation, the end of the conflict, the drug trafficking problem, care for victims, and verification mechanisms and countersignature of any agreement reached at the negotiation table.

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