After weeks of unwillingness and a failed meeting last week, Colombian
President Álvaro Uribe finally met with indigenous protesters Sunday.
Despite hostility between the President and protesters, he met with
indigenous leaders, but without result.
Uribe received cursing of the indigenous crowd after he refused to withdraw the army from the area where the talks were held, claiming there had been rumors the protectors would be blocking highways again and that he would prevent that. The protesters on the other hand want the army off what they consider holy ground.
“We can not have sites where the army and the police are not present (…) what happened with the upcoming of guerrillas and paramilitaries in Colombia is that they created strategic gateways for the terrorism,” Uribe explained
Uribe also clashed with indigenous when they refused to sing the national anthem. The indigenous replied they feel neither supported nor protected by the State.
Despite a small rapprochment the leaders and government were not able to reach an agreement about the protesters’ demands about the return of land, improved health care and education and protection from paramilitary groups.