martes, junio 4, 2024

Colombia: ELN, the country’s final active guerrilla group, accepts a ceasefire


Colombia’s ELN and Government Reach Truce: A Promising Step Towards Lasting Peace

Colombia’s government and the final active rebel group in the country have reached an agreement for a temporary cessation of hostilities, marking a significant step towards peace after nearly six decades of conflict. The National Liberation Army (ELN) has declared that it will cease fighting starting from Thursday, with a full ceasefire scheduled to take effect in August. The defense minister of Colombia has confirmed that the armed forces will also be instructed to halt offensive actions during this period. However, the ELN has stated that it will defend itself if attacked by the military or other armed factions.

This announcement follows the recent agreement of a six-month ceasefire, set to commence on August 3rd. If maintained, it would be the longest period of peace the ELN has agreed to since their initial armed resistance against the Colombian state in 1964. Despite this development, there is skepticism regarding the success of the ceasefire. On the day it was announced, ELN members killed three policemen, and a week prior, government forces killed six soldiers from the rebel group.

Challenges and Skepticism Surround Colombia’s Historic Ceasefire Agreement with ELN

Colombian President Gustavo Petro, a former member of the now-defunct M-19 rebel group, pledged to achieve “complete peace” during his presidency, but reports suggest that he has yet to sign the ceasefire decree. The ELN and the Colombian government will continue peace negotiations in Venezuela starting in August. Previous attempts at negotiations between the government and the ELN, as part of the historic 2016 peace agreement with the larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group, were unsuccessful.

While the FARC peace deal has faced challenges, it did bring an end to the longest-running guerrilla conflict in the Americas. The ELN, which has thousands of members, has been accused of financing its operations through drug trafficking and illegal mining. The ongoing conflicts between armed groups, including the ELN, have resulted in the displacement of thousands of people from their homes, according to humanitarian organizations.