Peace negotiations between Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, and the Colombian government could reportedly begin in May.
Exploratory talks between the ELN rebels and the government have been held “outside of Colombia,” possibly in Venezuela, where former President Hugo Chavez was one of the key facilitators of the talks, according to El Espectador.
The ELN have chosen five leaders, including the Central Command member “Pablo Beltran,” to represent the organization at the negotiation table. Meanwhile, the government group could be integrated by former Inspector General General Jaime Bernal Cuellar and the retired Major General Eduardo Antonio Herrera Berbel, among others.
According to preliminary reports, the text outlining the various steps of the negotiations includes themes like the oil industry, foreign investment, labor reform and right to education.
The ELN, with between 1,500 and 3,000 armed members, has been waging war against the Colombian state for nearly half a century. For many years, the rebel group waged a limited war against the larger rebel group FARC. More recently, however, the two groups have increasingly been cooperating, as evidenced by a series of regional alliances in northern Colombia.
- Diálogos de paz con el ELN empezarían en mayo (El Espectador)
- Eln y Gobierno comenzarían diálogos a mediados de mayo (El Colombiano)