Colombia: guerrilla operation of the ELN reached 17 military personnel and left 8 dead – A Nova Democracia

We publish this unofficial translation of an article from the brazilian democratic and popular newspapr A Nova Democracia.

Colombia: guerrilla operation of the ELN reached 17 military personnel and left 8 dead – A Nova Democracia

On March 29th , the ELN (Army of National Liberation – in Spanish, ‘’Ejército de Liberación Nacional’’) of Colombia Reached 17 military personnel during a guerrilla operation in the rural region of the municipality of El Carmen, at northest of the country. Two militars be dead and nine were wounded. This happens inside the scenary of brutal repression against the peasants and popular leaders of the coountry, in the middle of the sham of ‘’Peace Agreement’’ proposed by Gustavo Petro.

Guerrilla operation happened around 3 a.m. when the combatants of ELN shot cilindric bombs (specific type of explosive device used by ELN, known as ‘’tatuco’’) and rifle shots against the platoon of the reactionary army. Seven of the dead for the guerrilla forces were soldiers, as for the other two, were non-comissioned officers.

Guerrillas refuse disarmament

The attack represents a reverse for the opportunists plans of Petro for dismantle the guerrilla groups who are acting in Colombia, as they occur even after the fake ”peace accords” (signed between the old Colombian State and capitulating leaders of the armed groups in recent years).

In October 2022, Petro announced that he would re-establish peace negotiations with the ELN. Since then, we have seen how his plans have been constantly frustrated by the guerrillas’ actions and pronouncements.

In January 2023, the ELN denied a ”bilateral ceasefire agreement” announced by Gustavo Petro on New Year’s Eve. Now, despite the participation of the group’s leaders in the so-called ”second cycle” of peace talks, closed on 10/03 in Mexico, ELN fighters are once again carrying out armed actions against the Colombian army in the largest guerrilla operation in Colombia since the beginning of Petro’s government.

This is not the first time that the ELN has carried out a major guerrilla operation during peace talks with the old Colombian State. In 2019, when then-president Álvaro Uribe attempted to disarm the guerrillas through agreements, ELN fighters killed 21 reactionary military personnel in an attack on a military prédio of the National Police (a cadet school) in Bogotá.

Estimates say that the ELN currently has more than 5,000 fighters in its ranks. Currently the largest guerrilla force in Colombia, the ELN is constantly active in at least 136 municipalities. Between 2018 and 2020, this organisation carried out operations in 57 new municipalities.

In addition to seeing the guerrillas’ disarmament plan thwarted by the ELN, Petro’s demagoguery has also been hit by dissident groups from the 2016 ”peace accords”, such as the FARC. In September 2022, fighters from these groups left seven policemen dead in an operation in the department of Huila.

‘’Peace accords’’ are a preparation for massacres

Far from seeing his plan of ”total peace” unanimously accepted by the masses of the people who make up the guerrilla groups, Petro is frustrated by the resistance of the armed peasants to the exploitation of the big landlords and the oppression of gunmen and the reactionary armed forces. Unable to stop the resistance of the masses with the farce of peace negotiations, Petro continues with the policy of massacres of community leaders, FARC dissidents and signatories of the peace accords all over Colombia. This reveals the real content of the “peace accords”, which, instead of granting rights to the popular masses, seeks, through the disarmament of the guerrillas, to increase the massacre with genocidal operations against the masses in general (both against those who participated in the peace accords and handed in their weapons, as well as leaders of the popular masses).

Since he took office, Petro has promoted successive evictions and murders of peasants

in the country, through the use of the Mobile Anti-Disturbance Squad (Esmad) and through the

reactionary armed forces of the country. In February 2022, 23 dissident guerrillas of the FARC were assassinated by reactionary army troops in the state of Arauca. One month later, 11 peasants were executed by troops of the reactionary Colombian army in the in the village of Putumayo. Months later, Petro promoted a succession of evictions and repressive actions in the departments of Cauca, Curumarri, Dagua and Caguán.

Thus, while Petro demagogically claims that “a peace process must be serious and responsible”, he perpetrates the systematic genocide of poor peasants especially of community leaders and peasants who have joined the ranks of the various guerrilla forces in the country. In this process, those who capitulated from the armed struggle are not spared: in the first three months of 2023, four signatories of the 2016 peace agreements were assassinated. The numbers for 2023 also includes the assassination of 31 community leaders from the countryside and the city in Colombia.

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