Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, has openly declared three days of “armed strikes” against businesses and transportation services throughout the northeast, according to a press release commemorating the organization’s 50th anniversary.
To commemorate the founding of the ELN in 1964, the guerrilla group announced that it was “breaking away from military principles of secrecy and surprise factors” in declaring three days of military strikes to take place in northeastern Colombia from 6AM July 3 through 6AM July 6.
According to the ELN’s Eastern War Front (FGO) commander, Manuel Vasquez Castaño, it is “the policy of the FGO to inform in advance, to the extent that the armed strike has the effect of total paralysis of commercial activities, transportation and mobility, of general daily activities, so that the population can make a setup [prepare] and not be taken by surprise.”
Castaño warned that the ELN will be attacking roads, transportation services, and businesses all over the FGO’s jurisdiction in states across northeastern Colombia, including Arauca, Boyaca, Casanare, Santander, and Norte de Santander.
The ELN commander justified the armed strikes as political military actions against the “greed of multinationals” and the “barbarism of capitalism.”
This July marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the ELN as a Marxist-Leninist/Liberation Theology movement.
The rebel group as it is today, however, bears little resemblance to its founding ideology and now concentrates on targeting multinational oil companies in the oil-rich Eastern Plains of Colombia.
The ELN has been credited with attacking the Caño Limon-Coveñas oil pipeline four times in the past two weeks, including an attack on a worker’s encampment in northeastern Colombia that injured 13 people.
- PARO ARMADO: Comunicado a la opinion publica (ELN/FGO Press Release)