ColombiaOne.comColombia newsELN Guerrilla Declare "Open Crisis" in Peace Process with Colombia

ELN Guerrilla Declare “Open Crisis” in Peace Process with Colombia


ELN Guerrillas crisis
ELN guerrillas declare “open crisis” in peace process with Colombia. Credit: @delegacioneln / X

The guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN), with which the Colombian state has been holding talks for more than a year, has declared an “open crisis” in the peace process. In a recent communiqué, the leadership of this illegal armed group explained to the country that, according to them, there have been repeated failures of the state to comply with the agreements reached at the dialogue table, especially questioning the participation of society in such talks.

In this sense, the guerrillas point to the organization of a regional dialogue in the department of Narino, in the south of Colombia, as a unilateral decision of the government which they see as a distortion of the process that they had agreed upon regarding the participation of society.

Freezing phase

The leadership of the armed group explains in the document that “the dialogues between the ELN and the National Government will enter a freezing phase until the government is ready to comply with what has been agreed.” The guerrilla points out that the government, installed in November 2022, of President Gustavo Petro “through the Peace Commissioner, the Armed Forces and the Police” is carrying out “actions in violation of what was agreed”.

The ELN questions the fact that the Colombian state has organized “a regional dialogue in Narino outside the national process and ignoring the ELN Delegation and the table where the International Community participates as Guarantors, as well as the UN and the Colombian Episcopal Conference.”

In view of this, the guerrilla organization stated that this situation “was formally exposed at the table by our delegation” and that if the situation is maintained “it would put the dialogue process in crisis by violating the agreements reached”.

Permanent crisis

In the 16 months of talks between the Colombian state and the ELN, there have been cyclical and almost permanent crises. So far, the most serious was the one that originated in November last year, when the armed group participated in the kidnapping of the father of the Colombian international soccer player, Luis Diaz.

Although Manuel Diaz was eventually released, it is suspected that the action was not authorized by the central leadership of the illegal organization, but was due to a decision of an autonomous war front. Nevertheless, crises of confidence and mistrust have repeatedly manifested themselves, despite the ceasefire agreement, which was recently extended until August.

Even at that time, differences surfaced, as President Petro surprisingly announced that an agreement had been reached in which the ceasefire would be extended for six months, but shortly thereafter this was denied by ELN peace delegates.

The latest friction has now occurred. In fact, the guerrillas have described the regional talks in Narino, which the government wants to start in March, as a “disguised set-up” which has left the process “in open crisis”. In this sense, the guerrilla communiqué warns that they have called for consultations with their peace delegation.

So far, neither the Colombian president nor the head of Colombia’s peace delegation, Otty Patiño, has commented on this new crisis or the “freeze” phase declared by the ELN guerrillas.

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