HomeNewsBriefColombia Coca Growers' Protests Spark More Violence
BRIEF

Colombia Coca Growers' Protests Spark More Violence

COLOMBIA / 19 JUL 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

A new wave of protests in Colombia's troubled coca-growing region has more than 30 injured, as the government takes a hard line against farmers opposing eradication of the crop that is the raw material for cocaine, even while it negotiates similar matters with the country's largest rebel organization.

Social unrest sparked by plans to destroy coca crops near the Venezuelan border in the northeastern region of Catatumbo last month left four dead and dozens injured. New confrontations this week left 13 protesters and 24 police injured, reported the radio program La FM.

Police also announced Thursday that prosecutors were filing charges against 10 of 32 people detained in last month's clashes, reported El Tiempo, many of them for terrorism and vandalism.

Almost 18,000 people cannot leave their homes because of protesters' roadblocks, said the United Nations. These roadblocks have caused food shortages and a steep increase in prices, reported Radio RCN.

A nationwide protest is planned for July 20, Colombia's independence day, said the ex-senator Piedad Cordoba who heads her own small political party.

InSight Crime Analysis

The remote rural region of Catatumbo is a symbolic place for the Colombian conflict, with a long and troubled history of guerrilla activity, paramilitary massacres and government repression. In a story repeated across Colombia and the other Andes nations, coca-growing farmers find themselves in the middle of conflict between all sides, and have claimed that the government has failed to offer them any viable economic alternatives to their illegal crop. 

As peace talks between the country's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government continue in Cuba, the Catatumbo conflict provides a microcosm of the entrenched issues of land reform and economic development the two sides are attempting to tackle. 

However, negotiations between the government and farmers, whose demands include the creation of a peasants' reserve and a rural development plan, have failed. And last week President Juan Manuel Santos said that a peasant reserve was out of the question as it “would jeopardize the authority of the state and the security of Colombians.” 

The government also claims protests are being incited by the FARC, and that the semi-autonomous peasant reserves could turn into rebel havens.

For its part, the United Nations has accused the government of using excessive force in response to the legitimate protests.  

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 25 JUN 2018

The demobilization of Colombia's main guerrilla group, the FARC, has left a criminal power vacuum along the country's eastern border…

AUC / 13 JAN 2012

Retired General Mario Montoya, former head of the Colombian Army, has denied having any links to the AUC, despite being…

COLOMBIA / 15 APR 2021

Colombia remains a hotspot for forced recruitment of minors. In this, the last of a three-part investigation by InSight Crime,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…