The Government of Petro and the ELN guerrillas begin to discuss a ceasefire

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  • The negotiations in Mexico closed with moderate optimism and a common political document

The Government of Petro and the ELN guerrillas begin to discuss a ceasefire

The Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the last operational guerrilla in that country, closed their second round of talks in Mexico, glimpsing closer than before the long-awaited horizon of peace. Although there is still a long way to go, these 25 days of negotiations have laid the foundations to begin to discuss the ceasefire. “The first steps have been taken,” said ELN commander Pablo Beltrán. “We have made progress in building an itinerary with a common vision of peace,” remarked Mr. the direct representative of the President Gustavo Petro, Otty Patiño. In turn, the government has taken a bold political step by recognizing the ELN as a “rebel armed organization” with which it is holding talks “aimed at obtaining solutions to the armed conflict.”

Vice President Francia Márquez participated in These negotiations also made it possible to address other urgent issues such as citizen and community participation in the peace process. The parties will meet again in Havana. Cuba has already played an important role during the negotiations between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC that brought an end to the confrontations seven years ago.

“We must all change to achieve a comprehensive and lasting, we must all participate in its design and realization,” added Mr. Beltrán.

“Total peace”

Petro, a former M-19 insurgent, has proposed to achieve “total peace” in Colombia upon assuming the presidency. This includes far-right armed groups and drug factions. The possibility of reaching a definitive agreement with the ELN is crucial in this ambitious roadmap. That path has not been easy so far. In fact, there were already negotiation attempts in 2017 that did not reach any positive result. Pedro's rise to power created the New conditions for a dialogue that was resumed It was held at the end of last year in Caracas with the sponsorship of Venezuela, Norway and Cuba. In turn, Mexico, Norway and Brazil are guarantors of these dialogues. Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Spain serve as accompanying countries.

The agenda subscribed to by the Government and the ELN is broad and, it is estimated, will arouse controversy. more than one controversy for its implementation. The joint document speaks of building “a political and social alliance towards a great national agreement” and the need to “identify the causes of the fundamental problems of the country” to achieve these transformations. If that materializes, it will be Henceforth “the use of arms is unnecessary as a means to impede or encourage political, economic and social transformations”.

According to the declaration, there is a need for the “active and effective participation of women, of historically excluded, discriminated against and precarious populations -boys, girls, adolescents, youth, the elderly, ethnic groups, peasants, workers, prisoners, the diaspora, the LGBTIQ+ population and those with disabilities-, in the construction of democracy for peace “.

Political Changes

The process that should lead to the end of the armed conflict that began in 1964 requires “examining, from a democratic perspective, the political regime and the economic model,” so It was defined as “evaluating the treatment given to political, social and environmental conflicts in terms of the construction of peace”. It is also considered necessary to “review the regulatory framework” and the “guarantees for public demonstration” in a historically criminalized society when mobilizing or protesting.

The desires for peace, it is pointed out finally, must be accompanied by “public policies tending to overcome poverty, the exclusion of women and men. n social, corruption and environmental degradation, in search of equity”. This implies the implementation of “comprehensive alternative development plans in urban and rural territories”.