The government of Colombia has been forced to negotiate with peasants' organizations in the wake of the peasants' strong show of force. The rural workers who have mounted Colombia's national agrarian strike are staying the course after four peasants and one policeman were killed and scores more detained. Hundred of thousands of peasants and small farmers are participating in this historic mobilization whose scope and magnitude have not been seen for decades.
The three thousand peasants that participated in the third encounter of the National Association of Peasant Reserve Zones, which took place last Friday, were an important impetus to the FARC’s proposal of expanding agricultural reserve zones in Colombia.
The secret peace talks between the Santos government and the FARC are now out in the open. It is premature to anticipate the prospects, however they are the first talks since the collapse of the last peace negotiations in 2002. I believe that the chance for success is higher now than in the 1998–2002 round. Success is by no means guaranteed, but there may be some hope.