Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group has demanded the suspension of hydroelectric programs and mining royalties, as part of their new proposal for mining and energy policy.
The FARC’s press release from Havana, where the rebel group and government are currently negotiating peace talks, proposed a plan for Colombia’s new mining and energy policy.
A statement read by FARC delegate, Rodrigo Granda, asked for the “rejection of the looting of our natural resources,” and “the agreement on a new mining and energy model that benefits all.”
Throughout Colombia there is widespread opposition to large-scale hydroelectric programs, which not only destroy ecosystems, but also ruin a way of life for many communities, who are displaced from their ancestral homes.
Similarly, Colombia’s mining policy been criticized over the meager amount of royalties which benefit local communities.
Granda specified the need for an “agreement on a new model of oil income redistribution,” as well as “a moratorium on mining to freeze the awarding of mining rights, until which time as the condition of mining exploitation benefits the whole of society.”
On Friday the FARC asked the Colombian government to include peasants and farmers in peace talks and to accelerate rural reform.
@FARC_EPaz hace un llamado al gobierno nacional a atender voz de pobladores rurales y sus exigencias expuestas en pliego d Cumbre Agraria
— Diálogos Paz FARC (@FARC_EPaz) March 21, 2014
Several contentious points remain to be discussed before an agreement can be reached between the government and the rebel group. FARC press releases claim that little progress has been made upon the subject of illicit drugs.
The FARC also called for a national commission on dams, to protect the communities impacted by “mega projects”.
The FARC’s final demand called for suspension of hydraulic fracking projects. Colombia’s recent discovery of shale gas in the Magdalena and Cordillera regions is likely to be a fierce source of conflict.
Colombia currently produces 1 million barrels of oil a day, whilst also being a major coal producer. However, with oil reserves expected to run dry within 7 years, the country has been considering alternative energy sources.
Peace talks between the government and the FARC continue in Havana as both sides seek to reach an agreement on the third of six points and end over half a century of internal conflict.