Colombia: indigenous 'minga' marches on Bogotá

Some 10,000 participated in a cross-country march and motorcade through Colombia's southern Andes, dubbed the "Minga for Life, Territory, Democracy and Peace," culminating in a mass demonstration in Bogotá on Oct. 21. The Bogotá rally was swelled by thousands of students, teachers and labor unionists who walked out of classes and off their jobs. Called by Nasa and Guambiano indigenous leaders in the southern department of Cauca, the Minga (a traditional Andean word for "collective labor") was joined by Afro-Colombian and mestizo campesino communities in its 10-day trek to the capital. Chief among the marchers' grievances is the ongoing wave of assassinations of social leaders by illegal armed groups operating on indigenous lands. They charge that their communities have been betrayed by President Iván Duque's failure to fully implement terms of the peace accords with the demobilized FARC guerillas.

"We want this president, who governs with his back to the country, to listen to social organizations, to build a national agenda from the streets, with farmers, indigenous people and students," said Minga co-organizer Jhonatan Centeno. (Bogotá Post, City Paper Bogotá, Colombia ReportsNYTTNH, NACLA)

Similar national mingas were held in 2008 and in 2005.

Ex-FARC fighters march in Bogotá over killings

About 2,000 former FARC rebels rallied in Bogotá Nov. 2 to protest against the murder of ex-combatants. "We laid down our arms believing in the promises of the state, yet to date 236 of our comrades have been killed in different parts of the country," said senator Carlos Antonio Lozada from the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force, the political party created after the peace deal which retained the rebel group's FARC acronym. (DW)