Colombia and ELN Rebels Agree to 6 Month Ceasefire

Colombia’s government has announced that 6 month ceasefire has been agreed upon with the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group during negotiations in Havana, Cuba.

The ceasefire will take full effect on August 3 and will last 180 days. During this time, a “National Participation Committee” will be created in an effort to establish long-lasting and permanent peace, according to the Colombian High Commissioner for Peace.

During a ceremony attended by ELN commander Antonio García, Colombian President Gustavo Petro said that “Here, a new world is born… Here a phase of the armed insurgency in Latin America ends.”

Peace talks between the Colombian government and ELN faltered in 2019 following a car bombing that targeted the National Police Academy in Bogota, which killed 21 and wounded dozens of others. The ELN claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to ceasefire violations by Colombian forces. Following the bombing, then President Iván Duque Márquez suspended talks. Since then, other temporary ceasefires had been implemented, like in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and over various holidays, however, but during this time clashes continued.

The latest rounds of negotiations were off to a shaky start when the Petro government announced on December 31, 2022, that they had reached a ceasefire with the ELN, however, just days later the ELN rejected the ceasefire and stated no agreement had been reached. Despite this, talks began in Venezuela, Mexico, and finally Cuba before a ceasefire was agreed upon.

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