Speaking at a security council meeting in Cauca’s troubled Toribio municipality, Santos said the region needed both military security and social development. “I think it will be a very important program in the field of social investment,” he added.
Santos reiterated that the national government would not demobilize any part of the Cauca department, despite earlier pleas from indigenous people living in the area.
“We are all tired of the war but we cannot for any reason demobilize a single centimeter,” said Santos, insisting it was the duty of the authorities to defend the rights of the citizens. “We will not let the guard down for a single minute. The armed forces will continue to persevere in all regions until the guerrilla realizes violent actions will not achieve anything.”
The president noted that the resources needed to implement the plan and the social wellbeing of the department would be defined in the coming months.
The need for increased securitry was highlighted by events immediately prior to the president’s arrival. A child was killed and five injured when a bomb exploded in a neighboring municipality Tuesday — and police discovered explosive devices planted around the field in which Santos was due to land in a helicopter Wednesday.
Dozens more have been injured and hundreds displaced in recent weeks, sparking the presidential visit.
The governor of the Cauca department, Ortega Narvaez, has previously said the “lack of state presence” in northern Cauca has allowed the FARC attacks to continue.
A few hours before the president’s arrival, alleged FARC guerrillas open fired against the town from the mountains, reported newspaper Vanguardia Liberal.