The Colombian government flatly rejected the proposal by rebel group FARC to increase the size of peasant land reservations, prompting claims on Friday that “enemies” of the peace talks “lurk” in the government.
Minister of Agriculture Juan Camilo Restrepo flatly refused the proposal made by guerrillas to increase by 22 million acres the Peasant Reservation Zone, a government program which attempts to distribute land equally among small farmers. Restrepo claimed that the FARC’s proposal would lead to the creation of “independent republics, and would not benefit the peasants.”
In response, the FARC said in a statement that the debate over peasant reserve areas has provoked a response from “wealthy elites” in positions of high government, particular within the ministries of defense and agriculture, who have been carrying out a process akin to a “medieval inquisition in the countryside.”
“There is evidence that within the Government itself rabid enemies of social justice and reconciliation are lurking,” stated the FARC, who claimed that said enemies promote the “foreignization” of Colombian territory.
Land redistribution is a key point of contention in the peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC, which are currently taking place in Havana, Cuba.
Though both sides agree that land reform needs to be addressed, they are divided on how to go about it.