Representatives from the Colombian government on Wednesday sat down with 32 representatives of the coffee growers to try and broker a deal to end the 10-day strike.
Leading the government envoy is Vice President Angelino Garzon accompanied by a slew of ministers including: Minister of Agriculture Juan Camilo Restrepo, Minister of Health Alejandro Gaviria, Minister of Finance Mauricio Cardenas, Minister of Labor Rafel Pardo, Minister of the Interior Fernando Carrillo and senior advisor for social dialogue, Luis Eduardo Garzon.
“Today there has to be a solution to the coffee strike,” declared the VP.
Thirty-two representatives of the coffee growers sat down with the government in a hotel in Pereira, the capital of the central Risaralda department, to hash out an end to the strike that has shut down roads all over the country causing massive disruption in the transportation sector.
El Tiempo reported that the first topic of discussion will focus on allowing medical supplies and sick people to pass through the roadblocks. No word on whether or not representatives from both sides will discuss the alleged abuses of protesters by police around the country.
Coffee growers went on strike February 25 after the government refused to increase subsidies to the industry hit hard by low coffee prices, years of flooding and mold that killed off much of the crop. The government of President Juan Manuel Santos argues that they have given the coffee growers more subsidies than any other government in Colombia’s history and that there simply aren’t enough resources to provide more subsidies to farmers.