Colombia’s largest rebel group, FARC, on Thursday presented their last three rurual development proposals.
The proposals included legalizing certain illegal crops “for therapeutic reasons”, creating a rural census and establinshing limits to foreign ownership of rural land.
The FARC asked for “a revision of the agreements and the treaties [regarding] supranational commerce, investments and intellectual property, which diminish the alimentary sovereignty and the conditions of nutrition and alimentation of the population,” said “Yuri Camargo”, a rebel negotiator at the FARC-government peace talks in the Cuban capital of Havana.
The FARC delegation also called for a “revision” of agreements that stimulated “financial speculation.”
The rebel group, once again, called for a Constituent National Assembly to decide the fate of the peace process.
However, in mid-January, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos ruled out the possibility of an Assembly, claiming this would alter the basic construction of the Colombian state.
“It is very possible [that we] can be able to [figure out] a formula to popularly approve [an] agreement and this is open for discussion…since the beginning, we have been very clear that a constituent assembly will not be the final results of the agreements,” said the president.
Senior FARC negotiator “Ivan Marquez” on Wednesday said the rebels and the government had found “coincidences” in the question of agrarian reform.
“Our vision regarding the problem of [land use] in Colombia, the definition of its character [as a] generator of violence, has been [presented] before the government of Juan Manuel Santos, encountering that diagnostic coincidences exist [regarding] this factor as the cause of the confrontation which makes our country bleed,” Marquez said.
The government’s lead negotiator Humberto de la Calle agreed that an “overlap” existed between the two sides is their desires to “transform” the rural countryside, but said that “significant differences remain.” The government’s chief negotiator also said that the more than 550 citizen proposals regarding agricultural reform “enriched the debate” and were of great help.
The former vice president also reiterated that the government was seeking “agreements that allow, with the necessary guarantees, the demobilization of the guerrillas” and “ceasefire will only [occur] when they have reached definitive agreements.”
The third round of peace talks are set to conclude on Thursday. After a four-day break, the two sides will convene once again on Tuesday of next week.