Colombia’s national government will begin dialogue with the “Marcha Patriotica” next week, despite having accused the leftist social movement of having ties with FARC guerrillas.
Interior Minister Fernando Carrillo confirmed via his Twitter account that Colombia’s executive branch will hold a meeting with the Marcha Patriotica, or “Patriotic March”.
“The Patriotic March will have every guarantee to exercise political opposition,” the Minister claimed Friday.
The decision is surprising given that Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon previously accused the Marcha Patriotica of being a FARC puppet. “The Patriotic March…is funded largely by the FARC terrorist organization,” he argued.
The Marcha Patriotica is one of Colombia’s largest leftist social movements and is led by ex-Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba. The movement formed in April 2012 and consists of more than 1,500 social and political organizations that purportedly represent the most marginalized members of Colombian society.
The meeting will take place during the same week the Colombian government commences phase three of peace talks with FARC rebels. The two warring parties are currently preparing for negotiations in the Cuban capital of Havana, which are due to begin on November 15.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has consistently said that more elements of Colombian civil society, such as the Marcha Patriotica, will be invited to participate in the third phase of the peace process.