Caracol Radio’s Darío Arizmendi interviewed an indigenous leader earlier this week, because of the indigenous Minga which is still going on in the direction of Cali. Five points mentioned this leader to discuss with Colombia’s president Álvaro Uribe. Among those that there should be peace negotiations to stop the Colombian war.
When the interview was finished Arizmendi and his colleagues commented that this was a very general condition and that it wasn’t very useful. I agreed with them, until I started to think a little bit more. Many areas where the war is being fought are inhabited by indigenous people.
Look at Nariño for example, in the southwest, where the Awá live. FARC, ELN, New Generations Paramilitaries and the army are fighting with each other. And the Awá, they are desperate. They can hardly move, they are hungry, they are trapped between all these fighters, illegal and legal, they step on mines, which were meant for the enemies of one of the fighting groups, they lose their limbs or they die. When will this fight end? Never. Guerrilla and paramilitaries put their cocaine with which they buy arms in the same little boats because it is economically convenient. This war is convenient.
El Tiempo published articles about the Guayaberos, the Sikuane and the Nukak in the Meta and Guaviare departments. They are being displaced because of the war. Ah, the Nukak, the last indigenous nomads in Colombia. They had to flee the jungle, their habitat, because of the violence. They are in a very bad situation because they were not prepared at all for contact with the white man.
And what about the indigenous people in the Chocó department, the Sierra Nevada, in Cauca, where the army and the sixth front of the FARC fight a bitter war? And all the rest of the Colombians who live in the rural areas and have to suffer the violence. Refugees who live in the slums of the towns and are being persecuted by the armed groups who are recruiting their children.
It is time that it ends, as soon as possible. Government and guerrilla, sit down and talk. FARC, if you are the people’s army, listen to the people!
PS I was glad to hear today that Consuelo González and Orlando Beltrán, two of the liberated hostages of the FARC, are continuing talks to get the rest of the ‘interchangeable hostages’ free. Low profile, quietly, as it should be. The same applies for the peace talks. It is said that it already happens, on a small scale, between some army generals and the guerrilla. I hope so.
Author Wies Ubags is a
Dutch freelance journalist in Bogotá and works for media in