Colombian President Iván Duque Marquez has accused armed groups and guerrillas of standing behind the violence during the national strike that began more than a month ago and warns against paying up to 100,000 pesos (about 22 euros) a day to barricades and Roadblocks are erected.
In particular, Duque referred to the columns Dagoberto Ramos and Jaime Martínez, dissidents of the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who, according to the radio station Caracol, are responsible for the blockades.
With this in mind, Duque defended Friday’s decree ordering the militarization of the departments of Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Nariño, Huila, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Caquetá and Risaralda and an increase in the military presence of 25 percent.
“In the face of vandalism, law enforcement processes will be accelerated and the work of the UIAF (Financial Information and Analysis Division) will be taken into account to ensure traceability of the resources used by the criminal organizations behind the vandalism and looting”, showed Duque von Popayán.
In particular, the military will protect the infrastructure and critical points and is already working with the police to come up with a work plan to maintain a joint presence and patrol at blockade sites.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the National Strike Committee, Fabio Arias, a member of the Zentralunitaria de Trabajadores, has assured that many of the roadblocks respond to the National Strike Committee, while others have nothing to do with it.
“We are not responsible for all roadblocks. Many are on the National Strike Committee and some are not,” he told Caracol Radio.
The opening of the streets is one of the conditions imposed by the toughest sector of the ruling party, led by former President Álvaro Uribe.
A new meeting between the National Strike Committee and the Colombian government is planned for this Sunday to negotiate the terms of a dialogue table.
The protests began as a mobilization against the tax reform proposed by Iván Duque’s executive, but once withdrawn, the mobilizations call for action to tackle inequality in the country.