Colombians displaced by violence demand permanent solutions to their problems of residence.
On Thursday, about 350 Indigenous people from the Embera community set up a camp to spend the night in the Bogota National Park. The protest occurs because the Unit for Colombian Conflict Victims (UPV) and the Capital District (DC) are no longer providing financial assistance to these communities, which were massively displaced from their territories a year and a half ago.
"We ran out of money to pay the rent, and we have absolutely nothing left. Our families have no place to go and, as a result, they take to the streets," said Indigenous leader Eduardo Mamundia.
Some Indigenous people are waiting for a housing solution in Bogota, while others wish to return to their territories, from which they were displaced because of the armed conflict. "We ask for a return plan, but with all the guarantees," said a citizen.
"Many of the members of these communities are protesting to find a way to prolong a subsidy scheme. Unfortunately, due to a legal restriction, neither the UPV nor the DC can continue to make these transfers, which were originally intended to be temporary” said Luis Gomes, the mayor of Bogota.
According to Gomez, the Embera community received economic aid of little less than US$500,000 during the last year and a half. The DC provided US$315,000, and the National government US$147,000.
The Ombudsman's Office of Bogota was also present in the park to monitor the situation and mediate between the community and the police.
A meeting would be held between the authorities and the demonstrators on Friday morning, to discuss the Indigenous population's request and resolve the issue.