Installation of National Participation Committee for peace with ELN in Bogota Installation of National Participation Committee for peace with ELN in Bogota  (ANSA)

Colombia begins 6-month ceasefire with last remaining rebels

The six months countdown has started, aimed at ending more than half a century of conflict and civil strife in Colombia, which has resulted in prolonged and agonizing bloodshed.

By James Blears 

The six months ceasefire, announced in June,  between the Colombian Government and the National Liberation Army the ELN, has now taken effect, is in effect,  is running on and ticking down, with the deadline concentrating minds, in the search and the quest for a lasting and final peace. 

The ELN is the last remaining rebel militant Bastian still standing. Its ranks number more than 5,000 armed guerillas, who have targeted oil pipelines, focused upon kidnappings and carried out bombings and shootings. It dates back to 1964, the same year as the establishment of the larger FARC or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The FARC made peace with the Government in 2016, and has since evolved into a political party. The ELN has yet to do so. 

Historic opportunity

Colombia`s President Gustavo Petro, is urging both sides to seize and firmly grasp the responsibility of an historic opportunity for consensus plus peace. He did this at a meeting of the National Participation Committee, which came into being as recently as June. He said that everyone wants to transform Colombian society. It`s part of his ambitious Total Peace Plan, which also includes dismantling and dissolving the drug cartels. 

The UN is sending 68 International Observers to monitor the ceasefire nationwide. A country long since weary of this corrosive long-term violence is hoping that a germinating grain of common sense will lead to a harvest of peace. All of this has cost more than two hundred and sixty thousand lives. 

Listen to the report by James Blears

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04 August 2023, 11:07