The chief negotiator of the ELN, Pablo Beltrán, on May 10, 2018 in Havana during the fifth round of peace talks
The Colombian guerrilla ELN said it would cease its military activities for five days, including the weekend of May 27, in which presidential elections are held in Colombia, to facilitate the participation of citizens.
The National Liberation Army (ELN), which has some 1,500 fighters, took up peace talks with the government last week at meetings held in Havana.
“The ELN will cease military activities from zero hours on May 25 to twenty-four (hours) on the 29th to contribute to favorable conditions that allow Colombian society to express themselves in the elections,” he announced.
The information was disclosed in the editorial entitled “Some cease fire and others not” of the latest edition of its magazine Insurrection, published on Monday, and replicated in your Twitter account.
In the letter they said “hope that this spirit of conciliation of the ELN, is responded with a similar behavior” by the government.
Colombia will elect the successor of President Juan Manuel Santos on May 27, although if no candidate obtains more than 50% of the votes, there will be a ballot in June.
– Problems for “complete peace” –
Santos has already admitted that a final peace agreement with the ELN will not be possible before the end of his term in August.
And the president’s efforts to hold talks in pursuit of what he has called “complete peace” in Colombia could be hampered if the right, opposed to these negotiations, wins the presidential elections on May 27.
Senator Ivan Duque, of the right-wing Democratic Center led by former President Álvaro Uribe, a fierce opponent of Santos, leads the polls.
For the ELN, “the presidential candidates of the right have a hate speech to perpetuate the exercise of violence as a mechanism of political struggle.”
In the resumption of the negotiations on May 10, the chief negotiator of the ELN, Pablo Beltrán, expressed concern about “the difficulties” and “non-compliance” facing the implementation of the peace agreement that disarmed and transformed the guerrilla FARC into a party. .
He said that “the murder of social leaders and opponents has grown by 20% from one year to the next” and that, despite the claims, “a genocide of the opposition acting in the legality is being configured”.
“They will understand our concern, because if we are invited to lay down our arms and make the political fight in legality, but that scenario is waiting for us, they must understand that there are not many certainties that await us,” he added.
– Negotiations in Havana –
The fifth cycle of peace talks in Havana aims to achieve a truce and find a mechanism for citizens to participate in the peace process, a constant demand of the rebel group.
Both parties were willing to agree on a ceasefire better than that achieved in October 2017 and lasted 101 days, until January 2018, amid criticism of breaches. At the end of that truce, the Colombian government denounced an immediate ELN offensive.
Peace negotiations between the parties took place in Quito since February 2017, but Ecuador officially sidelined as the seat and guarantor on April 20 after unusual attacks and kidnappings by dissidents of the FARC disbanded in its territory. Now Cuba took the post.
The Caribbean island, which is also the guarantor of the process, hosted peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for four years, which culminated at the end of 2016.
Cuba has the necessary requirements for the negotiations to flow: experience in the subject, geographic proximity, confidentiality and security, characteristics that both the government and the FARC highlighted during their dialogues.