In the press release the ELN’s Eastern Guerrilla Front said it would “continue the political-military confrontation against the petroleum infrastructure, the multinational companies, subsidiaries, and contractors. Political kidnappings of functionaries, employees, and foreign employees will also continue.”
But it then offered to halt the offensive if the government complied with this list of demands:
- The suspension of drilling and exploration in indigenous reserves and natural parks.
- The repatriation, compensation, and allowances for environmental and social damage caused by petroleum exploitation.
- The initiating of a social tax of $10 a barrel, paid by the multinationals and given directly to communities.
- The compensation to lands damaged by oil pipeline construction.
- The lowering of fuel tax by 50%.
- The elimination of road tolls and the nationalization of all roads in the country.
The group accused the Colombian government of allowing foreign companies to exploit the country’s energy resources while destroying harming the environment and indigenous communities.
The ELN also accused oil companies of consenting to “the dirty war and state terrorism by funding paramilitaries and state forces,” and specifically giving technical support during the 1998 bombing of the Colombian town Santo Domingo in which 17 civilians died.
Last Tuesday the ELN released nine oil workers they had been holding hostage.