Marxist guerrilla group, the ELN, sent a letter to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Monday requesting to be included in the peace process aimed at ending decades of armed conflict in Colombia.
“We asked for a place to express to you, as secretary of UNASUR, our reflection on the Colombian conflict,” read the letter, posted on the group’s website. “Latin Americans are a unit, as a region and have the same dreams, ideals and common enemies. People and nations must embrace this unity and struggle for the peace we all want,” it continued.
The letter, addressed to UNASUR Secretary General Ali Rodriguez Araque, criticized Colombian kowtowing to “U.S. imperialism” under the pretext of “combating terrorism and drug trafficking.” The document signed by the ELN’s commander, Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, blamed Plan Colombia, the U.S.-sponsored legislation conceived in 1998 aimed at curbing drug trafficking and leftist rebel activity, for militarizing Colombia and “dangerously threatening peace in the region.”
Rodriguez claimed that a 2008 incident involving Colombian forces crossing into Ecuador in order to eliminate 21 FARC guerrillas was an “attack” on the neighboring country that was promoted as “fighting terrorism.” Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa felt the move, which was carried out without the knowledge of Ecuadorian authorities, was an infringement on his country’s sovereignty.
The letter concluded with a call for UNASUR to “listen to all fighters for peace in Colombia and take into account the diversity of approaches of the [political] parties, regarding the search for peace in the country.”
UNASUR is an intergovernmental union formed in 2011 that comprises all 12 South American countries.