As part of ongoing peace negotiations with Colombia’s government, the country’s largest rebel group FARC on Thursday published “minimal proposals” to decentralize the government’s executive and legislative branches, and increase state control over privately-owned mass media.
On the guerrilla organization’s weblog, the FARC said to seek a deal that includes deals that “guarantee and stimulate the participation of regions, territorial entities and territories, and the political, economic, social, cultural and environmental definitions of the State, compensating the excessive centralism” the FARC claimed to be exercised from the capital Bogota.
In order to achieve this, the guerrillas want the current House of Representatives to be replaced by a Territorial House in which “the partcipation of at least three representatives per department [of which Colombia has 32], and peasant, indigenous and Afrodescendant is guaranteed.”
In order to “outlaw the clientelistic, corrupt and criminal structures and practices” of the State, the FARC wants the formation of a “Territorial Participation Council” in which representatives of cultural minorities and territorial entities are represented.
Additionally, the FARC said to seek mechanisms to increase “social and the people’s participation on [the State’s] different levels; national, departmental and municipal” and demand an increase in the people’s participation of the board of directors of the central bank, the National Council for Social and Economic Policies, the Superior Council of Fiscal Policies.
The rebels also demanded the state to take more control of privately-owned mass media in order to “favor social and poor sectors, as well as political forces that have been excluded in this field.”
To enforce its influence on the media, the FARC wants the state to “guarantee the state co-financing of the media” and subsidies for “alternative and community media.”
The guerrillas’ demands were already mentioned in a publication on Wednesday, but not clarified until Thursday’s post on the FARC weblog.
On Wednesday, the rebels already explained they are seeking an ” Opposition Statute” seeking to increase the political power of Colombia’s political opposition and “includes political guarantees and [guarantees of] collective and individual safety to be provided by the State, the banning of practices of stigmatization, signage and persecution, financial measures and the access to information and mass media.”
Negotiators of the FARC and government began a second cycle of talks regarding the rebels’ political participation earlier this week after successfully ending negotiations over agrarian reforms. The negotiating teams announced to be discussing the issue separately before joining each other at the peace negotiation table in Havana next week.
If successful, the peace talks will end the FARC’s nearly half-a-century long war with the Colombian state.