The Colombian government on Friday failed to come to an agreement with representatives from the country’s coffee growers to put an end to the massive country-wide strike.
As the demonstrations push on into their fifth day, Colombia’s ministers of labor, agriculture, finance, and the interior, announced that after a 13-hour meeting with protest representatives, an accord could not be reached. Interior Minister Fernando Carrillo reiterated that the government was eager to reach a deal with the protestors who are striking over a perceived lack of government subsidies during this trying period for the industry. According to Caracol Radio, Carrillo said that the government was willing to increase subsides to coffee growers by 50%.
The governor of the southwest department of Cauca, Temistocles Ortega, expressed his desire to clear the roads currently blocked by protestors without agitating demonstrators who vowed to block roads from the outset.
“If there is a possible deal [regarding the blockage of roads] the priority would be to allow the passage of medical vehicles. The strike would continue eventually, however, this would solve the situation of the many people who are suffering from a lack of medical supplies,” said the governor.
Colombia’s minister of agriculture, Juan Camilo Restrepo, noted that the protests were “creating humanitarian problems” in reference to the road blocks prohibiting the transfer of medical supplies.