The peace delegations of the Colombian government and the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) showed hope this Monday with the resumption of a political dialogue which, as the parties assured, expresses the feelings of the Andean country and Search for concrete transformations in different areas.
At the same table, in a hotel in Caracas, the representatives of both delegations have started the first cycle of negotiations, in which Venezuela hosts and guarantees a joint role with Norway and Cuba.
The speakers at the conference expressed confidence right from the start of the talks, which resulted in a joint statement to which they endorsed resume this process “with full political and ethical will”.understood as a claim “of rural and urban areas suffering from violence and exclusion”.
Dialogue as an instrument of change
Israel Ramírez, aka “Pablo Beltrán”, speaking for the ELN delegation, thanked the international support for this mechanism, which he sees as supportive, strengthening the sense of commitment to the promise of pacification.
“This table must be an instrument of change and we want to make it an instrument of change, this wave of change that Colombian society is demanding and we hope not to disappoint this expectation,” he said after making his wish expressed that the interlocutor on the government side takes the same point of view.
For his part, Colombian High Commissioner for Peace Danilo Rueda stated that the dialogue “has important issues for the country”, including “concrete transformations in the territorial’ and ‘specific challenges related to social and environmental issues’.
Rueda, who has insisted that the dialogue is an “inclusive process without any exclusion”, recalled that the reason for the negotiations is to resolve conflicts to honor the “murdered, disappeared, tortured, abducted” and was “convinced”. of “reaching purpose” leading to “overcoming the death dynamic”.
Other countries selected as observers
Venezuela, Cuba and Norwayas guarantor countries in the negotiations, have expressed their hope for a successful conclusion of the parties and thanked for the “trust placed” by being elected direct observers of the dialogue.
This was stated by Cuba, Norway and Venezuela in a brief joint statement with the Colombian Catholic Church and the United Nationsthe last two as guests.
“We appreciate the trust placed in us. We look forward to the trial taking place today. Without a doubt, this is an important step to achieve peace in Colombia,” they said.
For his part, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, celebrated the resumption of the peace negotiations via social networks and thanked “the support of the Secretary-General (of the United Nations), Antonio Guterres, in this process”.
The President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, has also shown his support for the negotiations, affirming that his country, as the venue for the first meeting, “will spare no effort to accompany” what he considers a “transcendental moment” in the Colombian reconciliation process.
Multiple failed conversations
The Colombian government and the ELN resumed negotiations that had started in 2017 in Quito (Ecuador) during the tenure of then President Juan Manuel Santos and later moved to Havana.
During Santos’ tenure, dialogue was interrupted several times, most recently six days before the end of his tenure as head of the Colombian presidency, which handed over to his successor, Iván Duque, on August 7, 2018.
The talks have since been put on hold Duque’s demand that the ELN release all kidnapping victims in their possession and refrain from all criminal activities.
The situation worsened after the ELN vehicle bomb attack on January 17, 2019 at the General Francisco de Paula Santander Police Academy in Bogotá, which killed 22 cadets, including an Ecuadorian.
However, everything changed this year because Gustavo Petro, who succeeded Duque in the presidencyhas as a priority the resumption of talks with the ELN within the framework of its “total peace” policy.
Four years and four months after their last meeting in Havana, the Colombian government and the ELN met again for negotiations, this time in Caracas and with Gustavo Petro as President.