September 23, 2023



Colombia: Resumption of negotiations with with last remaining terrorist group

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The Colombian government and the guerrilla of the National Liberation Army resumed Monday 21 to try an umpteenth time to put an end to fifty-eight years of conflict.

It’s almost four years since talks between the Colombian Government and the National Liberation Army – the ELN – broke down, following a car bomb attack on a police cadet barracks in the Capital Bogotá.

The ELN was founded in 1964, the same year as the National Liberation Army of Colombia, known as the FARC.

The FARC signed a peace treaty in 2016. But the ELN, which still has an estimated four-thousand-armed guerrillas in the field, is holding out.
This dialogue with the guerrilla rebels is generating as much hope as skepticism among a population tired of fruitless negotiations and of the war that has been raging for more than half a century.

In a joint statement, both sides say they want to build peace based on democracy and justice.

the High Commissioner for Peace, Danilo Rueda, said he had “faith” in this dialogue, which is part of the “total peace” project sought by President Gustavo Petro with the various armed groups still active

The ELN’s chief negotiator, Pablo Beltrán, told Cambio magazine that talking with representatives of Colombia’s first leftist president, himself an ex-guerrilla of the M-19 (an organization that was demobilized in the 1990s), gives this peace process a better chance of success than the seven others that have been held before.

Diplomats from Venezuela, Cuba and Norway are helping facilitate that process.

Colombia is still plagued by hard-line remnants of the FARC and drug cartels, but securing permanent peace with the ELN would be a significant step forward for the nation.

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