Stories of how the armed groups active in this highly conflictive zone of northeastern Antioquia department are forcing children to join their ranks.
- The bodies of 13 people are found in Palmarito, outside the city of Cúcuta, and across the border in Venezuela. The massacre is believed to be the result of fighting between the ELN and the Rastrojos—the remnant of a once much stronger post-paramilitary group—for control of cross-border smuggling routes. “The most conservative estimates,” Semana reports, “say that this war has left 37 dead in recent months.”
A look at fragmentation of and disputes between armed groups, the effect of Venezuela’s crisis, and the humanitarian crisis in Catatumbo, a conflictive region of Norte de Santander department.
- The government’s high commissioner for peace, Miguel Ceballos, says that some factions of the ELN have been sending messages to the government indicating a willingness to negotiate. He mentions a leader, alias “Lenin,” who apparently supports reducing attacks on the Caño Limón-Coveñas oil pipeline.
- Police capture Gerardo Antonio Bermúdez, also known as “Francisco Galán,” a former ELN guerrilla who served as a key link to the group during past efforts to negotiate peace. A judge in Cali seeks to try Galán for his possible role in a September 2000 mass kidnapping on the highway between Cali and Buenaventura.
- Galán is known as a peace promoter who has served a complete term in prison and has long since abandoned violence. His arrest inspires an outcry across the political spectrum, including a tweet from former President Álvaro Uribe.
A discussion panel analyzes the ELN’s declared “armed stoppage” of February 14-17, 2020.
A discussion of the current security reality in three conflictive zones.
An in-depth look at the security and human rights situation in Chocó, where Afro-descendant and indigenous communities are caught amid fighting between the ELN and the Gulf Clan.
While visiting Montelíbano, Córdoba, President Iván Duque responds to the ELN’s declaration of an “armed strike.” He says, “Colombia is united to confront this criminal group, this terrorist group, these recruiters of minors, these eco-killers.”
- Chocó-based ELN commander “Uriel” announces on social media that the guerrilla group has declared a new nationwide “armed strike,” prohibiting vehicle travel between February 14 and 17.
- Most of the country is unaffected by the armed strike, but travel grinds to a halt in areas where the guerrillas have strong influence, like Arauca and Catatumbo. According to InsightCrime, “Colombia saw at least 27 operations by the ELN around the country, including attacks on electrical infrastructure, clashes with the Colombian Army, closures of national highways due to bomb threats, explosive devices left in cities, one sniper attack, as well as numerous graffitis and flags hailing the group.”
- While visiting Montelíbano, Córdoba on February 13, President Duque responds, “Colombia is united to confront this criminal group, this terrorist group, these recruiters of minors, these eco-killers.”
- The Defendamos la Paz civil-society coalition issues a statement rejecting the ELN’s announcement, contending that “the time for war has passed.”
- In Medellín, where the ELN was believed responsible for the recent downing of an electrical pylon on the city’s outskirts, authorities reactivated an 80-man Army Special Urban Forces Battalion.
- Afterward, the ELN issues a communiqué justifying its actions but apologizing for “discomforts caused.”
- “What we saw last weekend wasn’t a strike, but a threat to the tranquility of some regions of the country,” High Commissioner for Peace Miguel Ceballos says on February 18.
- Fighting between the ELN and EPL displaces at least 236 people in the rural zone of Ábrego municipality, in Norte de Santander’s conflictive Catatumbo region.
- Alias “Pablito,” the commander of the ELN’s powerful Eastern War Front, issues a communiqué offering to cease the group’s attacks on Colombia’s energy infrastructure if the country meets seven conditions. The conditions are unlikely to receive the Duque government’s serious consideration: they include a 50 percent cut in fuel prices, the elimination of tolls, a sharp increase in social investment using oil revenues, and a suspension of fracking.
Video accompanying a Fundación Ideas para la Paz report about the ELN’s current capabilities and prospects for renewed negotiations.
An investigation into the current state of the ELN guerrillas, and prospects for an eventual re-start of negotiations.