The Colombian guerrilla group ELN said Monday President Juan Manuel Santos shows a lack of legitimate action to end the armed conflict, stating that under Santos’ government “the possibility of peace is blocked and far from the horizon.”
“To justify his aversion to peace, (Santos) poses a condition for opening the dialogue, that makes it impossible: the immobilization and the disarmament” of guerrilla groups, said the ELN, Colombia’s second largest insurgent group, on their website.
Throughout their address, the ELN asserts that Santos “speaks about peace to clean up his image as a man of the war and the ‘false positives'” scandal that has affected thousands of Colombians. However, the group argued that any genuine attempt to end the armed conflict is not possible under Santos’ term because of the restrictions he imposes.
“Within the guerrilla-like logic of the oligarchy, peace is synonymous with the crushing of political opposition and the pacification of the country imposed with arms; it is to prevent overcoming the causes that create and nourish the daily conflict; it’s to sustain the regimen that permits that less than 1% [of the population] owns more than 50% of the land,” according to the guerrilla group.
Both the ELN and the FARC have regularly expressed their will to start peace talks with the government, but have so far refused to give in to conditions set by the government that demands the guerrillas end acts of terrorism and release hostages held as political leverage or for extortion purposes.
The ELN publication concludes that “the government of (President) Juan Manuel Santos continues with the [ideology of Uribe], when they speak of peace at the same time they prevent getting close to it and the block the possibility of chasing it” while the ELN and the FARC “express the willingness to advance towards real peace, which is the aspiration of the people.”
The ELN has been fighting the Colombian state since its formation in 1964.