Colombia: Challenges on the road to peace with ELN and the Government

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Source: HispanTV / The Dawn News / March 14, 2018

The last big Colombian guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN) ratifies president Juan Manuel Santos’ decision to resume the peace talks. Aureliano Carbonelli, who is a member of the ELN negotiation delegation, said the armed socialist group has faith in the future and in the process of dialogue.

Carbonell informed that in the upcoming meeting the parts will debate two fundamental issues: participation of the general population in the peace process (the ELN wants society to be deeply involved in this process) and the search for a ceasefire agreement.

For his part, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos confirmed on Monday the resuming of the peace dialogue with the ELN.

Political analyst Héctor Iván Hurtatis Espinosa commented that the ELN is unlikely to strike a deal with the government similar to the one achieved by the FARC. In an interview with HispanTV, Hurtatis analyzed that due to the proximity of the presidential elections in Colombia, the government of Juan Manuel Santos is investing its last political capital in the electoral process and this is not a priority on their agenda. Besides, the negotiations have suffered many delays and therefore it is unlikely that it will reach a solution before this administration ends.

According to Hurtatis, the opposition is divided in two different positions regarding a potential peace agreement between the ELN and the Colombian government. One part opposes the government of Juan Manuel Santos but approves of the peace negotiations and another one that is against both Santos’ government and peace with the guerrilla. The latter group, which is in favor of continuing war, grew in the last elections and a peace agreement would affect its political capital. This sector will do anything at their hand in order to end the negotiations and extend the armed conflict, which have been so hard on the less fortunate people of Colombia.

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