Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday said he will not succumb to the pressure of striking farmers in the northeastern Catatumbo region and fast-track the creation of peasant reserve zones.
The president responded to events in Catatumbo, in which protests from farmers seeking the creation of such zones turned violent recently, leaving four farmers dead.
Speaking at the inauguration of an agricultural fair in the capital Bogota, Santos stated that “rural reserve areas are a legitimate instrument of rural development, there are however, procedures in place and ultimately the relevant institutions have to make these administrative decisions so as to ensure legality.”
Santos insisted that the government will not push through the resources to declare a peasant reserve in the region, as doing so “would jeopardize the authority of the state and the security of Colombians.”
The President however, defended the government’s response to social unrest in Catatumbo, stating that “we are providing more than two trillion pesos [$1 billion] to comply with the population of this region as needed. This is constructive work for the community.”
- Por vías de hecho no se logrará zona de reserva campesina en Catatumbo: Santos (Elespectador)
- A la decisión sobre las reservas campesinas no se puede llegar por las vías de hecho, afirmó el Presidente Santos (Presidents office)
- Santos rechaza zona de reserva campesina en Catatumbo bajo presión (El Tiempo)
- “En el Catatumbo no habrá zonas de reserva campesina por las vías de hecho”: Santos (El Pais)