Colombia's defense minister, Guillermo Botero, said Tuesday that indigenous people who have been protesting for a week in the south of the country are using children to keep the Pan-American highway blocked.
"The Pan-American Highway is closed at two points and there is a very worrisome matter: to prevent the blockade they are using children, this was brought to the attention of the Attorney General's Office, as you know this is criminal behavior," Botero said. to journalists.
Hundreds of indigenous people have been blocking the Pan-American highway for a week, waiting for a dialogue with the government to be reopened to discuss agreements reached with previous administrations that, according to them, have not been fulfilled.
The Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) assured on Sunday that indigenous and peasant delegations from different parts of the country are arriving to join the demonstration and the blockades that have caused huge economic losses to truckers and transporters.
In this sense, Botero affirmed that the demonstrations "are infiltrated", although he did not clarify the armed group and said that he has photographs that prove it.
The FARC and the guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN) are operating in the area.
About the possibilities for circulation, the Minister of Defense said that there is an alternative way open despite yesterday remained closed for about 45 minutes.
Botero explained that in the southern department of Huila the roads have also been reopened and "there is a normal flow of people and cargo."
The Colombian president, Iván Duque, assured yesterday that the blockades in the Panamericana way on the part of the natives do not contribute to solve the problems of the zone nor to the dialogue, besides impeding the free movement, that is a constitutional right.
However, he stressed that "the Government will continue to send delegates to facilitate a clear conversation that starts from the base that is not through the de facto ways to build a better country."