Colombia’s Congress said Wednesday that it will convene in the violence-ridden southwest of Colombia next week after social organizations suspended talks with the government.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives announced they will travel to the north of the Cauca province that has seen an escalation of violence.
Locals suspend talks with government
The congressional decision came a day after some 40 social organizations from Cauca suspended talks with the national government and announced they would join indigenous organizations, students and labor union in a national strike on November 21.
“We are preparing the great mobilization of November 21 in the countryside and cities, in rejection of the legislative package of President Ivan Duque and in solidarity with our indigenous comrades,” Human rights activist Cristian Raul Delgado said.
Government lost all credibility
The regional organizations are considering cutting all ties with the national government.
According to Delgado, the Duque administration has lost credibility, because it has failed to comply with agreements made in April.
These agreements followed unrest over previously broken promises made to the indigenous peoples, black minority groups and peasant organizations from the region.
“One of the commitments made in the last southwestern mobilization was to have a direct dialogue with the communities that participated in that process, but they have failed us,” the human rights defender said.
Congress takes over
As the Duque administration appears to be in a state of collapse, Congress took over and convened sessions in Santander de Quilichao, a town in the heart of the northern Cauca region.
Both houses summoned Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez to appear and invited Inspector General Fernando Carrillo, Ombudsman Carlos Negret, UN Human Rights chief Alberto Brunori and representatives of the organization of American States to take part in the sessions.
Gutierrez, who is rumored to be close to losing her job over her alleged ineptitude, will be forced to listen to the local organizations, and indigenous organizations in particular.
Defense Minister Guillermo Botero was also summoned to travel to Cauca, but he was forced to resign on Wednesday.
Amid widespread discontent about Duque’s inability to govern, Congress has basically put the government under supervision of the legislative branch and international organizations.