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Colombia Suspends ELN Rebel Arrest Warrants

    Colombia Suspends ELN Rebel Arrest Warrants
    Last updated: 3 months ago
    Image credit: Presidencia de Colombia [via El Colombiano]

    Facts

    • On Sat., Colombia's newly elected Pres. Gustavo Petro announced that arrest warrants and extradition orders for members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group were suspended in an effort to revive peace talks. He also declared he would revalidate protocols established in 2017 by former Pres. Juan Manuel Santos to open formal talks. [1]
    • Founded in 1964, the left-wing rebel group - which relies on illegal mining, drug trafficking and kidnapping - has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by multiple nations, including the US, and is responsible for extensive violence in Colombia. [2]
    • Last week, the ELN released six hostages in what they deemed a "unilateral humanitarian gesture" in recognition of Bogotá's efforts to restore dialogue, ahead of Colombian officials traveling to Cuba to meet with ELN negotiators. [3]
    • During his presidential campaign, Petro vowed to reach "total peace" in Colombia by resuming peace talks with the group, which declared their willingness to negotiate shortly after he was elected. [4]
    • Peace talks have been suspended since 2019, when then-Pres. Iván Duque called them off after an ELN attack in Bogotá killed 21 cadets. He also issued arrest warrants for the group's leaders exiled in Cuba. [5]
    • In 2016, Colombia struck a peace deal with the country's largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), leading to a reduction in kidnappings, homicides and forced displacement. [6]
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    Spin

    Left narrative

    This is a much needed step to ensure peace and security in Colombia. Instead of repeating the failed strategy of escalating tensions, the Petro admin is promoting a "Total Peace" policy, hoping cease violence through dialogue and peace agreements.

    Right narrative

    It's no surprise that the Marxist-Leninist Colombian president is kowtowing to the ELN as the guerrilla group supported his ticket – as did the Clan del Golfo, the FARC, and the dictatorships of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. And this is only the start of a presidency destined to be a tragedy for the Colombian people.

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