Colombia resumes peace talks with ELN
Nov. 22, 2022
Colombia’s government resumed peace talks with the National Liberation Army. The negotiations follow a four year hiatus, in which the country’s largest remaining guerrilla group expanded its operational territory, reports the Associated Press.
Venezuela, which just resumed diplomatic relations with Colombia, is hosting the talks in Caracas. Diplomats from Venezuela, Cuba and Norway will assist in the negotiations, while representatives from Chile and Spain will observe it.
The negotiations form part of President Gustavo Petro’s broader strategy of “total peace,” that includes peace talks with armed groups, drug gangs and FARC dissidents, a marked change from the preceding Duque administration.
The ELN is believed to have about 4,000 fighters in Colombia, and is also present in Venezuela, where it runs illegal goldmines and drug trafficking routes, reports the Guardian.
The Colombian government has held talks with the ELN intermittently since 1991 — El Espectador reviews all the past failures to reach a peace accord.
Previous attempts at negotiations with the ELN have not advanced partly because of dissent within its ranks, according to Reuters.
But several factors could push talks towards success this time around, including the fact that the ELN has more political than military potential at this point, according to La Silla Vacía. The international context is also favorable, as Venezuela has more to gain from negotiations than maintaining the guerrillas as a first line of defense against Colombia.
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