The Colombian rebel group the National Liberation Army (ELN) begins their holiday ceasefire today. ELN is a left-wing guerilla group
The Colombian rebel group the National Liberation Army (ELN) begins their holiday ceasefire today.
ELN is a left-wing guerilla group that has been active in Colombia since the 1960s. The group is largely concentrated in the northeastern state of Choco near the Venezuela border. They have historically conducted kidnappings and terrorist attacks to further political aims, and are now involved in the drug trade.
In 2016, another major rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signed a peace deal with the government, ending over fifty years of fighting. The ELN did not join that accord, remaining the last armed group fighting in Latin America. The current government under new leftist president Gustavo Petro has sought to form an accord with ELN, ending decades of violence in Colombia.
This ceasefire is the first step in the peace process. Petro’s government has pushed hard for total peace, which has significant support from the Colombian population. As the country’s first leftist president, a deal with Petro may be more palatable to the ELN. It is likely peace talks will continue in the short-term, with more advances made and a possible partial ceasefire in the medium term.