guerrilla National Liberation Army (ELN) I set this Monday Humanitarian actions With the Colombian government In areas affected by armed conflict. At the same time, Fighting raged between this insurgency and defectors from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The National Liberation Army concluded the fourth round of peace negotiations with the government of President Gustavo Petro in Caracas, a month after the start of the ceasefire.
The representative of the executive branch, Oti Patiño, said at the conclusion of the talks in the Venezuelan capital: “We have reached new agreements that bring us much closer to the peace that everyone desires.”
Guerrilla leader Pablo Beltran called for “continuing the path of a political solution to the conflict.”
The end of this round of negotiations coincided with reports that nine people had been killed in clashes between the ELN and the Central General Staff, the main group of dissidents from the peace agreement that led to the disarmament of the FARC in 2017.
The army found the bodies in the municipality of Puerto Rondon (east), near the border with Venezuela, along with five wounded, including a 14-year-old indigenous woman, according to a video clip by the governor of Arauca province. Wellinton Rodriguez, who did not specify whether the dead and wounded were insurgents or civilians.
Both the ELN and dissidents are seeking an agreement to disarm in peace processes with leftist President Gustavo Petro, who has been in power for one year.
The text read during the event stated that the so-called Caracas Agreement “establishes the principles and approaches by which we hope the ceasefire will achieve its humanitarian purpose.”
“We focused on some critical areas,” Beltran said. “This is where the largest number of attacks against local communities have occurred.”
The table declared Bajo Calima and San Juan, in Valle del Cauca (east), one of the hotspots of the conflict, as “decisive areas” and suggested adding other areas to this designation.
The text specified that “humanitarian measures and dynamics, guarantees of adherence to bilateral, national and temporary ceasefires, and the participation of local communities in the peace process and social development projects will be implemented.” Delegations will visit these areas.
Petro resumed peace negotiations with the ELN – which has 5,851 members, according to 2022 intelligence figures – in November 2022, after they were suspended by his predecessor, Ivan Duque (2018-2022), following an attack that left twenty police officers dead at a training school. .
Patiño, a former member of Colombia’s guerrillas, insisted: “In less than these nine months we were able to agree on a ceasefire, the nature of which should lead us to the end of the armed conflict in Colombia, and not just to the humanization of barbarism.” . The M-19 Nationalist and Urban Movement, the same rebel organization to which Petro belonged in his youth and which agreed to peace in 1990.
“Obstacles to this process”
The truce was agreed upon with UN verification in the previous round of talks held in Havana and entered into force on 3 August.
He added, “We must note that the ceasefire came under fire.” But Beltran pointed this out. He added: “There was a media campaign by major media outlets and major telecommunications companies, seeking to put obstacles in the way of this process.”
He continued: “There have also been merciless attacks on communities trying to develop social control over this ceasefire.” He added: “Our assessment of these attacks, whether media attacks or military attacks on the ground, is that they are caused by sectors that are happy with the structural crisis that the country is experiencing and do not want there to be changes towards that.” Democratic transformation.”
The table with the ELN had already been clouded at the beginning of August by a complaint from the Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding an alleged assassination plan against the Chief Public Prosecutor by the rebels, who denied the accusations and said it was a sabotage operation. .