BOGOTA: The guerrillas presented the proposal in early February, as part of reducing the intensity of the armed conflict. Broadly speaking, it is about alleviating the consequences of the dramatic unemployment trend in the country.
After the guerrillas made their proposal, a report came from DANE, Colombia's statistical agency, which showed that 33 out of 40 million Colombians live on less than two dollars a day. As many as nine million people have no more than one dollar a day and live in poverty. According to DANE, a two-child family needs at least 85.000 pesos (about $ 40) per month to live a decent life.
At the same time, the official figures show that the rich have become even richer. In 1990, the ten percent richest earned 40 times more than the ten percent poorest. Today the figure is 60 times more.
Unemployment shows the same pessimistic trend, with three million open unemployed and 33 per cent underemployed. 13 percent have only temporary work. Unemployment is Latin America's highest.
The guerrilla's proposal is to introduce a unemployment benefit of 230.000 pesos per month, equivalent to $ 100 or just under NOK 1000. That means a cost to the Colombian state of $ 350 million per month, $ 4,2 billion per year, to secure three million unemployed.
The expenditure believes that the guerrilla should be covered through Plan Colombia, through the introduction of a new tax on financial capital and a contribution from the international community. To prevent the money from being lost in the general corruption, the guerrilla proposes that the money be administered and paid by a commission that is part of the government's and the guerrilla's negotiating delegation.
Finally, the guerrilla proposes that both negotiating delegations undertake an international tour to explain the content of the proposal. But first, the other party must be persuaded.