The President did not recognise the importance of the gesture for peace made by the Army of National Liberation over the Christmas and New Year period, his reply was to carry out military attacks against us throughout the national territory. Despite this, we were strict in our observance of the unilateral suspension of offensive operations from 23 December 2018 to 3 January 2019.
The Government’s armed forces took advantage of this ceasefire to advance their operational troops to favourable positions which they would have found it difficult to take without the ceasefire. They also bombarded one of our camps on December 25th, dropping more than 12 bombs of several hundred pounds of explosives each, causing injuries to a peasant family living nearby.
The National Police Cadet School is a military installation; it is where training and instruction is given to officers who then engage in combat intelligence, carry out military operations, participate actively in counter-insurgency warfare and meet social protest with military force.
Therefore the operation carried out against these military installations was legal according to the laws of war,there were no non-combatant victims. We think recognized international institutions should give their opinion on these installations and on the type of operation we carried out.
In our camps, which are bombarded whenever we fail to take sufficient precautions, we also train officers and combatants; for this reason we have not interrupted or reduced our efforts for peace, for we know very well that we are at war, because the ruling class has insisted that negotiations must take place while conflict continues. The ELN has insisted on its desire for a bilateral ceasefire to create a favourable climate for peace talks; this proposal has met with significant national and international support, but the Government’s response has been negative.
It is then completely out of proportion that while the Government attacks us it says that we cannot respond with legitimate self-defense. We are willing to agree that certain governmental military installations and areas, and certain camps and areas where the ELN operates, should be out of bounds, this would help the progress of the talks.
Peace does not advance and the peace process goes backwards if the parties in conflict do not respect each other; the process should start by respecting everyone’s suffering. We mourn the deaths on both sides, the clearest example of this occurred with the death of Comandante Alfonso Cano when he was unarmed and defenceless; they did the same on 26th July last year when they killed our Comandante Samuel while he was unarmed; the correct thing to do would have been to take them prisoner.
We propose a political debate on these topics, it would be important if the ruling elites were to talk about this and if the country were to be given accurate information.
President Duque, we want to repeat to you that the path of war is not the way forward for Colombia, rather it is peace; therefore we remind you that the best thing to do is to send your negotiating team back to the talks, in order to continue the Peace Process and the further development of the agreements made under the previous Government; a route to the political solution of the conflict supported by the majority of Colombian society and the international community.
Colombia for the Workers!
Not a Single Step Backwards, Freedom or Death!
National Liberation Army
taken from https://eln-voces.net/el-camino-es-la-solucion-politica-del-conflicto/