The fate of Colombia rests on the solution to land and territory disputes, said FARC on Tuesday.
In a statement delivered from Havana, Cuba, FARC’s chief negotiator Ivan Marquez said that “there is nothing more vital to us than the opinion of the people and their social organizations which are affected by the problem of conflict, [namely] land and territory, because the fate of Colombia rests on its solution.”
The announcement came before the continuation of peace negotiations between FARC and the Colombian government after a three-day rest.
Land limitation and food production issues will be discussed during a forum which began on Tuesday in Bogota.
Regional leaders, non-governmental organizations, international agencies and government officials, as well as representatives of land owners and farmers attended the forums.
One notable absence was the presence of Jose Felix Lafaurie, the President of the Colombian Federation of Livestock [Fedegan] who called the forums “useless.”
The forum “is useless because there are two opposing positions: the FARC, who defend the smallholding, and us, who believe we should produce for globalization,” said Lafaurie.
The Fedegan president’s refusal befuddled and infuriated. Green Party Representative and co-chair of the government’s Peace Commission, Angela Maria Robledo called Lafaurie “a straightforward enemy of peace.” Senate President Roy Barreras said the Fedegan president’s statements were “unprecedented and bewildering.”
Marquez, however, remains adamant that the forum will be important to the peace negotiations saying “the structure of landowner and land” remains “[a] fundamental cause” of the confrontation “that bleeds Colombia.”
He also called for 17 million acres of land to be redistrubted to victims of “state terrorism.”