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Colombian conflict generates fear in Cauca

07-20-2012 10:58 BJT

In Colombia, the Presidency marked a milestone for justice in Colombia’s armed conflict. But an indigenous group in one part of the country continues to argue for Colombian troops to vacate the area.

We spent a day with the Colombian president when he made history granting land titles to victims of the armed conflict, but at the same time must confront an escalation of the armed conflict in a northwestern province of Columbia called "Cauca." This countryside is part of a province in Colombia called Vichada.

Its motto— "Land of Men for Men Without Land." On Wednesday that changed. The Colombian government gave 154 families titles to 77 thousand hectares worth of farmland. For these cattle ranchers and farmers it was an emotional day. Luis Lopez Lugo said, "That little paper you have given us represents something very big for each one of us. It is something wonderful. It opens the door for us to enter the productive chain of our country."

Along with the titles each family also received about government subsidy worth around 9 thousand U.S. dollars to improve their housing. This is all part of a resettlement program that was kick-started by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in August of 2010. With these titles the program has reached 1 million hectares that have been resettled by victims of the armed conflict.

It was also the first time in Colombia’s history that a President visited this town called Primavera. However President Santos made it clear why these areas are important in the world stage. President Santos said, "You have vast lands where you can produce a lot of food.

It is in our best interest to invest in infrastructure because as the needs outside grow, we need to transport this to our Pacific ports and send to places like China!"

But after the celebration the President had to fly across the country to the Cauca province, where the armed conflict is escalating. Colombian Security forces have clashed with indigenous activists who want both the military and the rebel group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—better known as "FARC"—to abandon the territory.

The president held a closed door meeting with Security officials and later held a press conference to affirm they are open dialogue but without conditions. President Santos said, "There are aspects where we cannot budge not one centimeter.

We cannot give one centimeter of our territory. The presence of our armed forces is not negotiable." The Cauca province is a FARC stronghold as it is used by rebels and criminal groups as a key corridor for drug smuggling.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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