Veins are still open in Colombia. Despite the peace agreements with the guerrillas reached against the clock by former President Juan Manuel Santos, violence has not diminished in the South American country. Now there is a melting pot of armed groups that dispute the land abandoned by the FARC: dissidents, the Bacrin -organized bands-, paramilitaries and the National Liberation Army (ELN). And while the social differences facing Colombia – a country where 70% of the land is in the hands of 3% of the population – continue, the conflict will not cease.
Faced with the start this Friday of the “armed strike” announced by the National Liberation Army (ELN), the authorities have considered the act a desperate measure and have deployed a security plan in the areas where this guerrilla group has a presence.
The members of the armed group have warned the civilian population that will be attacked if they fail to stop, while the security forces have asserted that the free transit is guaranteed. This action implies a curfew, throughout the Colombian territory, tax under threat of aggression against civilians who leave their homes or move through land, river and air transport.
The guerrilla group threatens in a six-point statement that civilians who are part of the Army caravans or who remain in the line of combat will also be attacked, “as they are being used to sabotage the strike.”
The warnings also go to carriers that do not comply with the strike, as their vehicles and boats will be taken away. However, the transfer of patients “who require hospital treatment” and “family movements to attend funeral matters” will be allowed. Finally, the text calls for prudence and “stay in their homes” to avoid “regretting consequences.”
Although this time the terrorist group did not explain the specific reasons for calling the “armed strike”, it is not the first one that they carry out at this time. In 2016, when the 50th anniversary of the death of the “guerrilla priest” Camilo Torres Restrepo – who was part of their ranks and who died in combat with the Army on February 15, 1966 – was commemorated, the guerrillas announced that, accordingly “With the legacy of Camilo,” they would develop “an armed strike.”
A week before this call to strike, ELN commander Pablo Beltrán, in an interview with BLU Radio, ratified the willingness of that group to resume the dialogue initiated in 2017 and broken in 2019. The irregular group considers that it is Duke who has opposed the talks since the beginning of his Government.
Behind the car bomb explosion at the Santander General School of cadets in Bogotá (Colombia), which left 21 people dead and more than 60 wounded, the Duque Government ended the dialogues that the former president Juan Manuel Santos had initiated with this irregular group.
For his part, the president of Colombia, Iván Duque, said that the State “is ready to face this threat” and that the insurgent group that has not joined the peace agreement with the Government “Will continue to be hit” with the work of the intelligence bodies and the operational capacity of the Armed Forces.
He said that “the rule of law” is ready to face them, “to bring their capacity to mobilize to historical lows” and said that in the last 18 months the “ELN has been hit“By the state security forces that have captured and subjected to justice several of its members, which” has led to acts of despair. “
Although in decline, the guerrilla group formed in 1964 has between 2,000 and 4,000 combatants that maintain activities in about one hundred of the 1,100 Colombian municipalities.