In the April-dated letter published on the ELN’s website, alias “Gabino” announced that “In the ranks of the ELN and the Colombian insurgency, there is an irrevocable decision, to achieve peace.”
Acknowledging that there is “still a long way to go,” Gabino laid out two possible paths for the resolution of the internal Colombian armed conflict that has plagued the country for over 45 years.
The first path, he stated, is “through the imposition of force,” whereby one side “forces the other to capitulate and…to achieve peace through the logic of winners and losers. The Colombian regime and its governments have bet on that logic,” he chided.
“The second way to seek the peace is the political solution, where the [Colombian] people and the nation take a leading role, with the assistance of the international community,” added the commander of the ELN, who are currently estimated to total about 1,500 guerrillas.
This is not the first time that the ELN have announced their interest in a peaceful resolution to the conflict, with Gabino releasing a video message in November 2010 with much the same theme.
Those calls seem to have fallen on deaf ears, as President Santos and his government have unequivocally stated that any possible peace talks will follow only after the cessation of terrorist activities, particularly attacks, hostage-taking and narco-trafficking.
In the letter, signed as being written from “the mountains of Colombia,” Gabino complains of the “demonization” of being labelled a terrorist group and rejecting the categorization before concluding the message with the note that “All lovers of peace, can always count on the ELN.”