Former ELN Chief Released Asks The Guerrillas For An Indefinite Ceasefire

Former ELN chief Gerardo Antonio Bermúdez, alias “Francisco Galán”, released from prison by the Colombian government to act as a promoter of peace, asked that guerrilla to cease a month’s unilateral fire that began this Wednesday due to the epidemic of the coronavirus is undefined.

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“I ask my former ELN colleagues not only to make a cease-fire for 30 days, to make a cease-fire so that we prevent plague, war and hunger from uniting in a single circumstance of life,” he said. the Ombudsman who received him last night on his release from prison in Medellín.

The ELN, Colombia’s main guerrilla group, announced on Sunday that from today until April 30, a unilateral ceasefire will be carried out as a “humanitarian gesture (…) with the Colombian people, who are suffering from the devastation of the coronavirus.”

So far, neither the ELN nor any authority has confirmed that the ceasefire has actually begun, but there is no news of guerrilla activity in this month in the country either.

In announcing the ceasefire, the ELN also proposed to Colombian President Iván Duque that this situation be used to facilitate a meeting of government representatives with the guerrilla delegates who have been in Cuba since August 2018, when the dialogues of peace, to seek a bilateral and broader truce.

A COLOMBIA WITHOUT ANY KIND OF VIOLENCE

For Galán, who was arrested on February 23 in Medellín accused of the kidnapping of more than 64 people perpetrated by the ELN in 2000, the 30-day cease-fire is not enough.

“Francisco Galán” considers that the greatest contribution that the guerrillas can make at the moment is “to declare an indefinite ceasefire” and “to free all the kidnapped”, the latter a demand from the Government to the ELN to resume the peace talks.

“30 days is not enough, it is necessary that we definitively stop this armed conflict and dedicate ourselves to seeking a humanity free from the coronavirus and the virus of violence,” he added in the interview.

The ex-guerrilla, who had already been a peace manager in negotiations with the ELN during the Government of Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018), was appointed this weekend by the Duque government as a promoter of peace, for which he was released.

Along with “Francisco Galán”, another former ELN chief, Carlos Arturo Velandia, alias “Felipe Torres”, was appointed peace manager.

“These people today have a great commitment to Colombia and that is to help design strategies for peace, strategies for coexistence and reconciliation,” said the High Commissioner for Peace, Miguel Ceballos, when making the announcement last Sunday.

REQUEST FOR REGIONAL TRUCKS

According to what he said, the Government is willing to talk with the ELN and other illegal armed groups, and proposed that truces be made in the most troubled territories of the country.

“It is necessary to agree with the ELN forces in Chocó, in Arauca, in Catatumbo, in Cauca and Nariño to make private agreements to suspend violence,” he assured.

The now promoter of peace urged the members of the guerrillas to “demonstrate to the country that they have unity of peace” because Colombia “does not deserve a war in such dramatic circumstances” as the health emergency due to the coronavirus.

“They have to tell the country that they are a single organization and that we want peace. If they are united in favor of peace, tell the country that they have a will,” he added.

The ELN, unlike the demobilized FARC, which had a vertical hierarchical structure, is a more horizontal organization, divided into fronts that operate with some autonomy in different regions of the country, although they all report to the Central Command (Coce).

MORE WILL OF PEACE

Alias ​​”Francisco Galán” also assured that he is willing to help in that purpose if the ELN has a true will to dialogue with what they consider “the enemy”.

The talks with the ELN, initiated by the previous government in February 2017, never produced significant progress and were stalled in August of the following year with the arrival in power of Duque, from the Uribista party Centro Democrático.

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