Gabino appears in the video reading a three-page press release from the organization and states that “Today, more than ever, peace is a requirement of the country.”
He went on to send a direct message to the government of President Juan Manuel Santos: “We say to you that [the government] has the challenge of offering the country a path to peace, as it says in the constitution. The insurgency exists for social, economic and political reasons the government has not wanted to change.”
The ELN commander referenced the last eight years of former President Alvaro Uribe‘s democratic security policy, commenting that peace took a back seat. Gabino said that the guerrilla group wants dialogue to end in a constitutional assembly to amend the country’s constitution. He said legislators must be ready to listen to the problems of the Colombian people and not support policies that have resulted in a corrupt government.
At the end of the video message, Gabino emphasized that the ELN has nothing to do with drug trafficking. He said the group does not cultivate the drugs, tax anyone who grows them, nor maintain any drug trafficking routes.
Authorities have sentenced Gabino in absentia to more than 38 years for a 1999 kidnapping, among other crimes.