Colombia’s interior minister, Federico Renjifo, will meet with indigenous leaders on Wednesday to seek an end the conflict between the government and the indigenous in the country’s southwestern Cauca department, reported local media.
Renjifo announced a multi-million dollar investment plan for the department, while claiming the government was doing its best to meet the demands of the indigenous within the boundaries of the Colombian constitution.
Dialogues between the two parties have been ongoing for about a month, with the indigenous movement demanding all armed actors exist their territory– Colombian Armed Forces and left-wing FARC guerrillas alike– arguing their presence puts the community members lives at risk.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in mid-July that “not a centimeter of territory” would be demobilized in the Cauca department, while the FARC’s main commander, “Timoleon Jimenez,” said his organization would only leave the department if the “army, police and paramilitaries” left first.
Feliciano Valenciano, an indigenous leader in Cauca, said dialogues would be suspended if Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon and Interior Minister Renjifo did not join the ongoing negotiations between the indigenous and the government.
“It would be the last try we make, hopefully the government arrives,” said Valenciano Wednesday.