FARC Calls for 8 New Seats in Congress to be Set Aside for Farmers, Minorities

HAVANA , CUBA – FARC negotiators in
Cuba called for the creation of eight new
seats in Congress specifically for farmers
and other minority groups, the leftist
rebel group said in a statement Tuesday .
The idea is part of a new set of
proposals the FARC has submitted to
government negotiators, as the two
groups attempt to bring more than 50
years of internal conflict to an end.
The Marxist rebels also outlined nine
new proposals to ensure the political
participation of marginalized groups,
including small farmers , indigenous
people, Afro <>descendants and trans
gendered people.
The new ideas are the latest in a series
of proposals the FARC have brought to
the negotiating table for the government
to consider . The two parties are currently
discussing how the rebels will participate
in the political arena should a deal be
reached and they demobilize .
“In addition to the recognition of the
rural territory at the constitutional level,
we want to create a special jurisdiction
for farmers in the Senate and the House
of Representatives ,” FARC negotiator
Andrés Paris read in statement from
Havana on Tuesday .
He went on to say the guerrillas are
seeking three seats in the Senate and
five in the House of Representatives.
“ The electoral participation of rural
farming communities ( should ) enjoy full
guarantees, including financing and
security, ” Paris said .
As part of their eight-seat proposal,
three of the seats would be reserved for
representatives of indigenous and
African-Colombian communities in the
Senate , while another five in the House
for greater participation of “political and
social ” groups.
The FARC – classified as a terrorist
organization by the US and EU – has
previously proposed the Colombian
Congress be disbanded and replaced by a
“Territorial Chamber” with better
participation of each region of the
country.
They have also in the past proposed ,
among other things , direct access for the
people, social groups and workers to
public institutions and have a say in how
they are organized .
President Juan Manuel Santos on several
occasions has said changing the political
or economic structure of the country is
out of the question .