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Colombia, ELN resume talk (February 14, 2023)

Latin America Daily Briefing
Latin America Daily Briefing

Colombia’s government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) resumed peace talks in Mexico City. Leaders of the negotiations on both sides said the talks would focus on a bilateral ceasefire and agreements to get humanitarian aid to areas of Colombia most affected by conflict, reports Reuters

Colombian President Gustavo Petro promised to pursue “total peace” with the country’s armed groups. But his efforts suffered a blow earlier this year when the ELN denied the existence of a government-announced ceasefire.

Success in the talks hinges on whether a ceasefire agreement is reached in the three weeks of talks launched yesterday, according to El País.

Chief government delegate Otty Patino said at an opening ceremony that a ceasefire should be not only “a decrease in armed confrontations” but also “a reduction in hostilities against the civilian population and illegal activities that cause damage and violence.” (AFP)

But heading into the new round of talks this week, recent statements have reflected ongoing tensions between the two sides, reports Al Jazeera.

The ELN rejects being equated with the country’s armed criminal groups, notes El País.

Mexico is one of the guarantor nations for the talks between the Petro administration and Colombia’s largest remaining guerrilla group, along with Norway, Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil and Chile.


  • Peruvian President Dina Boluarte promised to crackdown on “narcoterrorism.” She spoke yesterday at the funeral of seven police officers killed Saturday in the remote VRAEM jungle region, where drug traffickers operate in alliance with remnants of Shining Path militants, reports Reuters.

  • Peruvian lawmakers’ failure to approve early elections before its closure next week mean a vote would be unlikely this year, reports the Financial Times. Seventy-one per cent of Peruvians want congress to close and Boluarte to resign, triggering new elections, according to a poll published by Datum on Friday.

  • IDL Reporteros reconstructed the deaths of six of the ten civilians killed in Ayacucho on Dec. 15, and found they were shot by members of the armed forces.


  • Nearly 1,000 children taken from their parents after arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border under the U.S. Trump administration remain separate. Hundreds of these families are not even in the process of reunification, reports the Washington Post.

Regional Relations

  • The Biden administration has attempted to put Latin America back on the U.S. radar, spurred by the specter of Chinese incursion. But experts say there is more noise than substance, reports Foreign Policy.

  • 125 years after the USS Maine exploded in the Havana harbor, it is long past time that the US treated Cuba like the sovereign nation it is, argues William LeoGrande in The Nation.


  • Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was bribed by the country’s prominent Rosenthal family, according to U.S. prosecutors. (Reuters)

El Salvador

  • Risks over El Salvador’s embrace of bitcoin “have not materialized,” but use of the cryptocurrency still requires transparency and attention, according to the International Monetary Fund. (Reuters)


  • Seizures of Colombian “creepy” marijuana have risen over the past year across Latin America — but several experts question whether the seized drugs are actually the supposedly highly potent weed, reports InSight Crime.

Deaths revisited

  • Forensic experts have determined that Chilean poet Pablo Neruda died of poisoning nearly 50 years ago, reports the Associated Press.

  • An upcoming BBC documentary about Frida Kahlo will reveal the belief in her husband’s family that muralist Diego Rivera helped her end her life, reports the Guardian.

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing

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