Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday called an emergency cabinet meeting to come up with a “rapid solution” to the country’s ongoing coffee growers strike which the government said can only happen “when the strike ends.”
The president met with labor minister Rafael Pardo, finance minister Mauricio Cardenas, interior minister Fernando Carillo, and agricultural minister Juan Camilo Restrepo to come up with “measures” to put an end to the the country-wide strike.
According to official sources, the ministers cancelled other commitments in order to participate in the meeting with Santos. Carrillo said that the government wanted to sit down with the coffee growers “but without confrontation.”
“Once they [end the strike] we will immediately meet with them at the negotiation table. This is a government that has expressed great concern for the coffee sector,” said the Interior Minister.
Approximately 30,000 coffee growers took to the streets Monday demanding that the government provide greater financial support for the struggling industry.
On the same day, Santos said the strike was “inconvenient, unnecessary [and] unjust,” and insinuated that some who were promoting the strike were “not interested in coffee farming or the well being of the farmers.” Restrepo said that Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC had “infiltrated” the strike, a statement rejected by FARC rebels and protesters alike.
Some 7,000 protesters on Wednesday blocked the Pan-American highway in the southwestern Cauca department after reportedly having clashed with riot police who tried to retake the road from the protestors.
- Gobierno Nacional está abierto al diálogo con los cafeteros, pero ‘sin vías de hecho’, señaló el Ministro del Interior (Presidential Website)
- Gobierno convoca reunión extraordinaria para conjurar el paro cafetero (W Radio)
- Ahora las Farc apoyan a los campesinos? (Dinero.com)
- Gobierno dialogará con cafeteros cuando se levante el paro (El Tiempo)
- Paro cafetero complica la situación de orden publico en el Cauca (Notivision Popayan)