Why Colombia was pressured to backtrack on a promising ceasefire announcement


What started as a hopeful announcement of a six-month ceasefire with the Nationwide Liberation Military (ELN) and different armed teams in Colombia, has resulted in a political entanglement that casts doubts on the armed teams’ need for peace – and raises questions on Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s future bulletins relating to the continuing peace course of.

The Colombian authorities’s personal chief negotiator, Otty Patiño, has since acknowledged that the settlement was not reached bilaterally. On Wednesday, the Colombian authorities spokesman introduced that the manager order for the ceasefire had been suspended.

Analysts agree that it was a mistake to make the announcement with out reaching a bilateral settlement, and imagine that Petro’s authorities now faces an extended technique to go to proper the fallacious.

Here’s a abstract of what occurred in latest days relating to the settlement of a bilateral ceasefire – that by no means occurred – and what could occur sooner or later.

President Petro introduced the ceasefire on December 31, giving hope to many sectors, particularly communities affected by violence.

He mentioned that for six months, beginning January 1, there could be a ceasefire with the ELN and 4 different armed teams: la Segunda Marquetalia (the Second Marquetalia), el Estado Mayor Central (Excessive Command of the FARC), Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (the Gaitanista Self-Protection Forces of Colombia) and the Autodefensas de la Sierra Nevada (Self-Defence Forces of the Sierra Nevada).

“The main objective of the ceasefire will be to stop the humanitarian impact… to halt offensive actions and to avoid armed incidents between law enforcement and unlawful organizations,” the assertion mentioned.

The announcement was applauded by many, together with United Nations Secretary Basic Antonio Guterres, who in a press release indicated that he “welcomes” the announcement of the bilateral ceasefire because it “brings renewed hope for comprehensive peace to the Colombian people as the New Year dawns.”

In accordance with Petro, the Group of American States (OAS), in addition to the Catholic Church and the Ombudsman’s Workplace, would oversee the bilateral ceasefire.

However the bilateral settlement didn’t occur.

Three days later, the ELN mentioned in a press release that there was no bilateral ceasefire settlement with the Colombian authorities as Petro had introduced on December 31.

“The ELN Dialogue Delegation has not discussed with the administration of Gustavo Petro any proposal for a bilateral ceasefire, therefore there is still no agreement on that matter,” says the January 1 assertion.

The guerrillas mentioned that “the ELN only complies with what is discussed and agreed upon at the Dialogue Table where we participate,” including that the announcement is known to be “a proposal to be reviewed in the next cycle” that can be carried out in Mexico.

Reuters reported that the announcement utterly shocked the general public, and after the announcement, Petro convened a gathering with the ministers of protection, inside and the excessive commissioner for peace to research the place of the insurgent group, made up of some 2,400 fighters.

Colombian Inside Minister and authorities spokesman Alfonso Prada Gil on Wednesday introduced at a press convention that the manager order establishing a ceasefire with the ELN had been suspended.

A brand new assembly between the events is predicted at negotiations between the ELN and the federal government of Colombia that may resume in Mexico

“We became aware of the statement of the ELN, and last night we made the decision to suspend the legal effects of that executive order until the negotiation table is reactivated in the coming days, and at that table we are going to bring that request of the protocols on behalf of the government, and we hope that the ELN will bring theirs, so that we can reactivate the dialogue,” he mentioned.

Prada Gil invited the ELN to comply with a brief ceasefire, whereas the subsequent spherical of negotiations start in Mexico.

After the uproar brought on by the announcement, the pinnacle of the federal government’s delegation for the negotiation, Otty Patiño, didn’t make clear that Petro made a unilateral announcement with out consulting the guerrillas, however as an alternative “celebrated” the ELN’s determination to “examine the terms” that would make the ceasefire attainable.

Interior minister Alfonso Prada speaks next to the High Commissioner for Peace, Danilo Rueda (L), and the Minister of Defense, Ivan Velasquez (R), during a press conference in Bogota on January 4, 2023.

He additionally ventured to “interpret” Petro’s failed announcement as a “first step towards a new understanding and a new future.”

Analysts have agreed that Petro’s announcement of a bilateral ceasefire was a mistake, however some posit that it was the president’s method of pressuring the guerillas and, making an attempt to advance the peace course of with the ELN.

“It is evident that it is a mistake to proclaim a ceasefire with several organizations without having agreed to do so with all of them and without having the protocols for the oversight either. It is a mistake to commit the international community to something that is not yet agreed by the parties, but we are already in it,” political analyst Leon Valencia mentioned Tuesday.

In the meantime, retired Military Colonel Luis Alberto Villamarín mentioned, Petro’s bilateral announcement was a transfer that backfired.

“He considered that by making a move like this he was going to subdue the ELN. Because the only means the ELN has to put pressure on the negotiating table is precisely their terrorist actions. And if the ELN commits to a bilateral ceasefire, that will prevent them from being strong on the negotiating table,” Villamarín mentioned in an interview on CNNE’s Conclusiones.

“The only argument the ELN has is terrorism and Mr. Petro thought that he could take that away from them, tying their hands,” mentioned the retired Military Colonel. “It was calculated but the ELN responded in kind,” he added.

Petro’s objective is to attain what he calls “total peace,” which can also be a political objective of his authorities.

He needs to disarm armed teams and arranged crime and put an finish a decades-long armed battle that has left at the least 450,000 useless and tens of millions displaced.

And with that in thoughts, Petro’s administration has a two-prong method: a peace negotiation with ELN guerrillas which have a political agenda, and authorized processes with legal organizations, which don’t have any political agenda, mentioned political analyst Ariel Avila, who can also be a senator for the Inexperienced Social gathering.

“This ceasefire includes the five organizations, the largest armed groups, and therefore safety could improve in about 180 municipalities… in the country,” Avila mentioned in an interview with CNNE’s Conclusiones. “There will be areas where relief will be very low, as there are others where these groups (sic) have total relief where relief will be much greater.”

Regardless of Petro’s mistake of creating that announcement and not using a bilateral settlement in place, he ought to nonetheless try to attain to succeed in an identical settlement, say specialists, because the proposal was made public and it has been welcomed by the worldwide group.

“Gustavo Petro made the bold move to propose a bilateral ceasefire without discussing it with the armed forces and with the ELN. Now it is known and widely accepted and supported by the international community. What is appropriate now is to agree on it urgently,” mentioned León Valencia.

And if this settlement is reached, it might be twice pretty much as good, in response to Avila, it would entail signing an settlement with the ELN, and implementing a legislation abiding course of with the legal organizations.

“The criminal delivers truth and delivers goods and in return the state offers a reduction of the sentence,” he identified.