Posted by Wesley Tomaselli on Jan 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Differences over land reform remain between Colombia govt, FARC

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Colombia Reports - Jesus Santrich

Significant differences remained on the table when the third round of peace talks between FARC and Colombian government negotiators came to a close in Havana on Thursday.

“There are similarities in the desire to transform the countryside, although there remain notable differences,” said Government negotiator Humberto de la Calle.

Though both sides have agreed that addressing the country’s rural poor is a major concern, they are divided on how to go about reform.

Ivan Marquez, a FARC negotiator, demanded that cattle ranchers’ land be redistributed to the poor. Marquez pointed out that currently there are almost 100 million acres of land owned by cattle ranchers, half of which could be given to rural peasants and the displaced poor.

MORE: Land reform, decreased inequality minimum demands for peace: FARC

The government has said that it wants to redistribute land to the poor as well, but in the interest of protecting private property, it wants to redistribute land that has been illegally seized by drug traffickers and other illegitimate armed groups.

Government negotiators have expressed that the talks need to move at a faster pace. But FARC lead negotiator Jesus Santrich feels the opposite.

“It’s a mambo rhythm,” he said, referring to a face-paced Latin dance. “Not a slow one.”

The next round of peace talks are scheduled to start again on January 31st in Havana, where other issues, like the political future of the FARC, still remain on the agenda.