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Latam Brief: Colombia resumes peace talks with ELN (November 22, 2022

Colombia’s government resumed peace talks with the National Liberation Army. The negotiations follow a four year hiatus, in which the country’s largest remaining guerrilla group expanded its operational territory, reports the Associated Press.

Venezuela, which just resumed diplomatic relations with Colombia, is hosting the talks in Caracas. Diplomats from Venezuela, Cuba and Norway will assist in the negotiations, while representatives from Chile and Spain will observe it.

The negotiations form part of President Gustavo Petro’s broader strategy of “total peace,” that includes peace talks with armed groups, drug gangs and FARC dissidents, a marked change from the preceding Duque administration.

The ELN is believed to have about 4,000 fighters in Colombia, and is also present in Venezuela, where it runs illegal goldmines and drug trafficking routes, reports the Guardian.

The Colombian government has held talks with the ELN intermittently since 1991 — El Espectador reviews all the past failures to reach a peace accord.

Previous attempts at negotiations with the ELN have not advanced partly because of dissent within its ranks, according to Reuters.

But several factors could push talks towards success this time around, including the fact that the ELN has more political than military potential at this point, according to La Silla Vacía. The international context is also favorable, as Venezuela has more to gain from negotiations than maintaining the guerrillas as a first line of defense against Colombia.

Regional Relations

  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said an upcoming Pacific Alliance summit in Mexico City would be canceled after Peru’s Congress refused to allow President Pedro Castillo to travel. (Reuters)


  • Mexico detained more than 16,000 migrants in a four-day span, including nearly 5,000 Venezuelans, according to the National Institute of Migration. (Reuters)

  • The Dominican Republic expelled hundreds of children to Haiti without their parents, according to UNICEF, which has received at least 1,800 unaccompanied children so far this year, reports CNN. Many arrive without identity documents and are “shipped” into the country amid adult deportees.

  • The report comes as the DR has ramped up deportations of Haitians in general, drawing criticism from other countries as well as international rights groups. Deportation figures have increased by 50 percent over the past couple of months, a move the DR defended in light of turmoil in Haiti, reports the Associated Press.

  • The DR government pushed back against a U.S. Embassy warning to dark-skinned American tourists that stepped-up enforcement against Haitian migrants could lead to their being racially profiled or detained, reports the Miami Herald.


  • A U.S. plan for an special international force to aid Haiti’s security forces battle violent gangs has lost momentum, a month after it was proposed in the UN Security Council, reports the Miami Herald. No international partner has been willing to rapidly deploy troops. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this weekend that there would need to be consensus across Haiti’s political parties for such a move.

  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines will not send security forces to aid Haiti, according to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who said such a move by any country could be seen by the Haitian people as propping up a government that the majority of Haitian see as illegitimate. (Caribbean Media Corporation)

  • Brazil’s incoming government is also unlikely to provide military assistance to Haiti, according to officials who noted that a prior military intervention did not yield lasting improvements. (Reuters)


  • China gave Argentina’s Fernández administration an economic lifeline, about $5 billion, available to Argentina’s Central Bank to use as part of its foreign currency reserves, on top of the $18.5 billion currently available. “ Whether Beijing meant to or not, it has taken sides in Argentina’s political and economic debates just ahead of an election year,” writes James Bosworth in World Politics Review.

  • A third consecutive year of drought puts Argentina’s “ability to supply global food markets at risk and adds pressure to a fragile economy with low foreign reserves,” reports the Financial Times.


  • A Republican dominated Florida gives U.S. Democrats the opportunity to “reconstruct their Cuba policy based on U.S. foreign-policy interests rather than prognostications about Cuban American voters in Miami-Dade. But the habit of letting domestic politics drive Cuba policy will be hard to break,” writes William LeoGrande in Foreign Policy.

El Salvador

  • Ten months after reports confirmed that reporters in El Salvador were targeted with Pegasus spyware, the case remains uninvestigated, writes José Luis Benítez in Global Voices.

Brazil Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva left the hospital yesterday after a procedure to remove potentially pre-cancerous patches from his vocal cord, reports Reuters.

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing

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