Colombias second largest rebel group, the ELN, asked a forum of leftist political parties and other organizations in the region meeting in Brazil, the Foro de Sao Paulo, Friday to mediate a political exit to Colombia’s conflict.
In a message posted on the official ELN webpage, Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, alias “Gabino,” the maximum leader of the organization, asked Foro de Sao Paulo to “accept a direct dialogue […] which will have the prime objective an interchange leading to peace for Colombia.”
Gabino said the ELN still maintained its will to “search for a political exit to the conflict” and called for “an open dialogue without conditions” with the government of Colombia. According to Gabino, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos would have to recieve “the calls from the international community.”
The ELN has been fighting a succession of Colombian government administrations since 1964. The rebel group currently has between 1,500 and 3,000 members, according to various estimates.