Government to meet Colon strikers
Leaders of the Committee for the Salvation of Colon who led two days of nonviolent protests and a province-wide strike only to see their efforts hijacked by criminal elements intent on looting will meet with a Government delegation to seek agreements over what the see as inadequate and badly handled redevelopment in the provincial capital.
The decision came after the leaders met on Wednesday, March 14 with the vicar of the Diocese of Colon and Guna Yala, Julio César Lau. The Minister of the Presidency, Álvaro Alemán, communicated with the leader Felipe Cabeza to schedule a meeting for Thursday, March 15.
It was reported that a government delegation, headed by Alemán, will move to Colon to start the conversations.
Rdgardo Voitier, one of the Colón leaders said that they will present a list of requests of about 15 pages.
The vicar Lau was representing the Bishop of Colón, Manuel Ochogavía. The conversations took place at noon in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
The group, which organized the two-day strike, accepted that the Catholic Church would act as mediator before an eventual dialogue with the government of Juan Carlos Varela.
The Government blamed criminal groups supported by a political sector for the events that took place on Tuesday..
The commission will be preparing a presentation for the Cabinet for the month of April and will have the doors open to listen to the opinions and contributions of civic organizations and the churches of Colon, said a statement from the Presidency, read by Aleman.
“We understand the dissatisfaction of citizens who feel affected by the work of the Renovation project in the City” it said.
The strike and demonstration ended on Tuesday as it began: without major incidents.
However, once the march was over, the Casco Antiguo of the Atlantic city became a battlefield due to the clash between the National Police and another group of colonists, with 35 arrested for looting.
The march began in the early hours of Tuesday morning and ended at the city center at noon. Until then everything was calm, and the police escorted the marchers who claimed more job opportunities, investments, and completion of the renovation work as soon as possible since the delay affects the activity commercial and the health of the residents.
Leaders said the violent episodes were the product of the historical frustrations of the Colonists since their problems of lack of water, unemployment and land titles are not resolved. “These problems do not date from now, they are decades old and they are not resolved,” they stressed.