Approaching what could snowball into nation-wide strikes across different industries resembling the disastrous final months of 2013, President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday asked farmers to call off any strikes.
President Santos has changed his tune from when he stated last weekend that he would not negotiate with farmers or rural leaders if strikes were to occur.
In the face of farmers ignoring the head of state’s threat and commencing nation-wide strikes on Monday, Santos backpedaled, and during an unrelated speech yesterday he called on those involved in strikes to consider working together with the state.
“I want to make a call today to all of the farmers and to all of the social agrarian organizations, that we work together in the same direction. And that we do not turn to paths [such as] strikes, but rather we work together,” said the president.
So far, coalitions of coffee, rice, and potato farmers are leading the strikes, though miners are currently “mobilizing” across the country, the executive director for the Mining Strike (Paro Minero) in the state of Risaralda told Colombia Reports.
Already the beginning protests are sounding like those that brought Colombia to a halt in the summer months of 2013, with Santos pointing to his “Grand Agrarian Pact” as an agreement that would solve any complaints that the agrarian sector might have.
“There are resources, there are political choices. We have dialogued more than ever before with different sectors precisely in order to be constructing this Grand Social Agrarian Pact that is going to be decisive in order to continue bettering our [society],” said the head of state.
As of Tuesday morning, no strikes have been called off.