Colombia’s president Ivan Duque effectively ended peace talks with ELN rebels by demanding Cuba extradite their negotiators.
In a televised speech, Duque echoed claims made by the country’s chief prosecutor and his defense minister that the ELN leadership was behind a terrorist attack in Bogota that killed at least 21 and injured almost 70 on Thursday.
“The authorities and investigative bodies have established those responsible for the events since this morning, the country knows these results, the terrorist armed group ELN is the mastermind of the despicable attack,” said the president.
Without explicitly ending the peace talks, Duque told the ELN leadership that “it’s enough.”
For all of Colombia, it is clear that the ELN has no genuine will for peace, no real ideology, and no cause that justifies yesterday’s brutality against Colombian youth, the murder of another human being, extortion or other crimes… It’s enough, gentlemen of the ELN, enough of the deaths, enough of the kidnappings and attacks on the environment. Colombia tells you: It’s enough.”
President Ivan Duque
Twitter Colombia deleted the ELN’s communication channels on the social media platform on Friday before the group could either accept or reject responsibility for Thursday’s terrorist attack.
Several independent journalists expressed suspicion of the authorities’ claim that the guerrillas were behind the attack that was made before carrying out an investigation into the attack.
But Duque never seemed to want to talk. He threatened to abandoned the peace negotiations while on campaign last year and has refused to assign negotiators and changed conditions for talks multiple times after taking office.
The president, who has suffered record-low approval ratings, urged on Colombians to unite “against terrorism.”
“You can be assured that we are prepared to continue to confront all the criminal organizations,” said Duque 54 years and 8.5 million victims after guerrilla groups like the ELN formed.
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