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Demonstrators participate in a rally against terrorism in Bolivar Square, Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Should Colombia Give Up on Peace Talks With the ELN?

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019

Last month, a man linked to the National Liberation Army, or ELN, rammed a truck laden with explosives into a school in Bogota where cadets were training for the Colombian National Police. The blast, which killed at least 21 people and injured 68 more, jolted Colombian society and brought back memories of similar attacks in the early 1990s. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians took to the streets to condemn terrorism.

After the ELN claimed responsibility for the attack, President Ivan Duque suspended peace talks with the guerilla group indefinitely. Many observers worried about the prospect of a return to widespread violence in Colombia, where the landmark peace treaty with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, also looks more fragile. Since the signing of that accord in 2016, the ELN has been Colombia’s largest remaining guerrilla group. Peace talks with the ELN started in March 2016 under then-President Juan Manuel Santos, the champion of the FARC peace process. ...

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