Government claims that Colombia’s largest rebel group, FARC, has infiltrated ongoing national strikes are “inventions,” FARC told national media on Monday.
According to El Tiempo newspaper, FARC commander alias “Rodrigo Granada” has refuted the statements made last Thursday by Colombia’s Defense Minister, Juan Carlos Pinzon, accusing the insurgency of infiltrating the agrarian strikes.
“The infiltration of the guerrilla in the national agrarian strike is an invention of the peace enemies,” Granada said.
MORE: Colombia’s defense minister warns for rebel infiltration in upcoming rural protests
However, the FARC commander also told El Tiempo, that the FARC “support any protest that our people do.”
The Defense Minister claimed on Thursday that armed groups were planning to infiltrate a national agricultural strike that started Monday morning.
Pinzon also stressed that it is crucial that the citizens participating in the strikes be conscious of these armed group and keep the anti-government protest orderly and peaceful.
On Monday morning the Defense Minister posted a picture on his twitter feed stating that pamphlets were in circulation signed by FARC saying that the rebel group supports the nationwide strikes.
RT @CaracolRadio: @COL_EJERCITO denuncia presiones de #Farc a campesinos para sumarse al paro http://t.co/K2vODeLlcT pic.twitter.com/4h75Yf6E6W
— Mindefensa Colombia (@mindefensa) April 28, 2014
The pamphlets allegedly come from the insurgency’s 58th and 40th Front, which are active in Tierralta in the northern state of Cordoba, and in central Colombia’s Meta state.
The leaders of Coffee Grower’s Dignity, who are key players in the strike, have also denied any presence of the rebel group in the anti-governmental demonstrations, according to Semana magazine.
“Government should stop creating smoke curtains and deceiving the population. It is a big lie of the minister. By saying that there are people infiltrated in the strikes all he wants is to create confusion,” said Oscar Gutierrez, the organization’s leader.