TITLE=COLOMBIA MARCH (L-ONLY)
INTRO: Millions of Colombians are expected to march
down the streets in the country's major cities today
(Sunday) in protest against the violence and warfare
that is ripping Colombia apart. As the protesters take
to the street, peace talks between the government and
the largest rebel group are also expected to resume
after a three month-freeze in negotiations.
Correspondent Rodha Metcalfe reports many Colobians
are skeptical about the future of peace talks, but
hope that a powerful public outcry will push forward
TEXT: Millions of Colombians are planning to getloud
and pushy today. They are tired of being silent
victims in a war where massacres and kidnappings are a
Peace activist Rosa Emilia Salamanca hopes that the
protest will put pressure on both government and the
guerrillas to start making progress in the peace talks
-that are expected to resume today (Sunday).
/// Salamanca act #1 ///
People are fed up with this war, because it is
so crazy. We are saying that we demand you start
/// end act ///
In recent months, there's been a series of smaller
anti-violence marches,many of them protesting against
kidnapping -- one of the rebel's most lucrative
The guerrillas have shrugged off these protests,
calling them the rantings of the business elite, and
not the common people. But Ms. Salamanca says Sunday's
march will be different. She says rich and poor will
march to protest all the war's violence, including
disappearences and massacres.
/// Salamanca act #2 ///
We are trying to show that the peace movement is
much bigger and has much more diversity inside.
(We want) To make them realize that popular
people don't want war anymore.
///End act ///
Government and rebel negotiators are scheduled to meet
today (Sunday) in a jungle region in easrtern Colombia
to revive the peace talks that broke down three months
ago when the guerrillas refused to accept
international observers. The government's backed down
on the proposal.
The rebels are supposely fighting to improve life for
the poor, but their military strenght has made them
arrogant and they have refused to give an inch in the
peace process so far. Political analyst Alvaro Camacho
/// Camacho act ///
We have had so many frustrations with this
process. I don't think people are optimistic.
/// End act ///
Since the peace process began early this year, the
Colombian army has luanched successful strikes against
the guerrillas. Public condidence in the army is
growing, and fears that the rebels could one day take
over is dwindling. But the rebels so far have proven
immune to public opinion.
Rally organizers hope Sunday's rally will begin to
change that and slowly convince the rebels that their
so-called revolutionary struggle is causing more grief
than Colombians can bear. (Signed)
23-Oct-1999 18:38 PM EDT (23-Oct-1999 2238 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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