Guerrilla groups such as the FARC and ELN intend to provoke violence during student protests at national universities, according to Colombia’s intelligence agency DAS reported Caracol Radio Wednesday.
Intelligence officials say that guerrilla members have infiltrated student groups who are planning protests against President Juan Manuel Santos’ higher education reform to take place Thursday in various universities around the country.
The head of DAS Felipe Munoz said there are clear indications that the FARC and ELN infiltrators are awaiting orders to instigate violence once the protests begin, Caracol Radio reported.
Students have recently been protesting what they perceive to be a government initiative to privatize education.
President Santos refuted this criticism, stating that the new reform plans to improve the quality of education by increasing the resources available for higher education and providing internationally competitive education.
The president plans to increase resources through the creation of profit-making higher education institutions, which would contribute resources to grant and scholarship funds for under-resourced students. He is also considering the utilization of contributions from public-private alliances.
The head of state denounced the recent protests and warned that “General Naranjo – Director of the National Police – has been given clear instructions; where there is violence, the security forces will enter to control the situation. We will not tolerate violence in the schools of this country.”
The Colombian constitution prohibits security forces on college campuses unless invited by university authorities.