Colombia’s new right-wing government has announced that it is ending peace talks with Colombia’s National Liberation Army, ELN. It has called on Cuba’s government to arrest ELN negotiators who are currently there. Meanwhile, Colombia’s government is seeking refusal of travel to ELN commanders from Cuba so that they cannot regroup with ELN front organizations, which violates agreements made before peace talks.
Furthermore, various social media networks based in the United States (the so-called “leader of the free world”) have systematically shut down the ELN’s social media pages. ELN’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are no more, and various websites of socialist resistance movements in Colombia have been hacked.
Likewise, two days ago, Facebook permanently closed down and suppressed ELN Truth Projects’ Facebook page, an independent information outlet, without any stated rationale. This act of suppression, in collaboration with Colombia’s militaristic state structures, was implemented just as the Facebook page successfully transmitted the ELN’s suppressed messages. This also happened as it began gaining attention as a direct source of information for thousands of Colombians.
In Colombia, corporate media are also suppressing official statements being released by the ELN. The words of “officialdom” on the civil war reign supreme in the “free press.” It therefore has become clear that the Colombian government is ready to stop pretending it is interested in peace.
The ELN originally began peace negotiations to end the underlying causes that have led to systematic political violence in Colombia, yet the government has refused to compromise on any issue. It has refused to discuss any significant changes to the socioeconomic order — instead, it expects the ELN to surrender unconditionally.
While the ELN unilaterally agreed to cease military operations over the 2018-2019 Christmas and New Year period, Colombia’s Armed Forces and National Police used this gesture of peace to engage in offensive operations and try to “pacify” rebel-held territories with intensive counter-insurgent measures. Even as the ELN suffered such strategic attacks, its revolutionary socialist members stuck to their promises of refusing to engage in military operations.
Consequently, following the end of the unilateral ceasefire and intensive counter-insurgency operations by the government, the ELN responded. It carried out an attack against a police training school used for counter-insurgency purposes. No non-combatants were killed.
Nevertheless, this retaliatory attack is being manipulated by the capitalist class and its agents to end peace talks and to continue the tradition of full-scale counter-insurgency war against the ELN and Colombia’s political left in general. The government is attacking groups that have always been rooted in the grievances of workers and peasants.
The ELN is one of many thousands of socialist entities that bravely and tirelessly represents the silenced voices of the working and peasant classes. Waging war against state terrorism and a militarily-powerful opponent that is enthusiastically supported by the United States and scores of narco-traffickers, ELN revolutionaries fight and die for the socialist cause that they believe is much more important than their own lives.
Just as thousands of social leaders and former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, guerrillas are bravely standing and resisting Goliath’s capitalist brutality, so, too, are the socialists of the ELN.
Not one step back!