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Latam Brief: ELN denies ceasefire (January 4, 2023)

Latin America Daily Briefing

Colombia’s ELN, the country’s largest remaining guerrilla group, denied government claims that they had agreed to a national ceasefire. (See yesterday’s post.)

President Gustavo Petro’s New Year’s Eve announcement of a broad ceasefire with several armed groups is a proposal to be discussed at peace negotiations and is not in force, according to the ELN. (Reuters)

This morning Colombia’s interior minister said the government decree establishing a ceasefire with the ELN had been suspended in response to the guerrilla group’s statement. (AFP)

The ELN’s announcement adds to evidence suggesting that the group will be tough to negotiate with, reports the Guardian.

More Colombia

  • Petro’s “Total Peace” proposal for peace negotiations with multiple armed groups is not unprecedented in Colombia, but it is the first time an administration will attempt to tackle such diverse groups simultaneously, reports El País.


  • Honduran President “Xiomara Castro’s crackdown on gangs is also an attempt to counter allegations the government hasn’t done enough to combat crime,” reports the Guardian. Criticisms of Castro’s security policies have grown despite a slight reduction in homicides during her year of government and a significant drop over the past decade.


  • Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has promised to stop Amazon deforestation entirely — the question is whether that ambitious goal is even enough, or whether the rainforest has already reached the tipping point. — New York Times Magazine


  • Protests calling for Peruvian President Dina Boluarte’s ouster and immediate elections are expected to resume today. Demonstrators are asking for former president Pedro Castillo to be released from jail. (Reuters)

  • Conservative groups marched yesterday calling for peace — a move initially supported by Peruvian national police, but officers withdrew their support after left-wing politicians and local human rights organizations raised concerns about a conflict of interest. (Reuters)

  • “However, the damage was already done — anti-establishment protesters now have more fodder to bolster their view of unequal treatment from federal police and military,” according to the Latin America News Dispatch.


  • Mexico’s Supreme Court elected its first female president, Norma Pina, yesterday. Pina’s defense of Mexico’s transition to renewable energy has pitted her against President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s nationalist energy agenda that favors state-run, fossil-fuel dependent companies, reports Reuters.


  • Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro “spent the past year tightening his grip on power in Venezuela, not only politically, but also by bringing order to the chaotic underworld that was allowed to flourish during the crisis years,” reports InSight Crime.

  • Negotiations to restore democracy in Venezuela are risky — nonetheless Washington should support diplomacy, argue Christopher Sabatini and Bruno Binetti in Foreign Affairs.


  • Chilean President Gabriel Boric’s New Year’s pardon of a member of a rebel group convicted of robbing a bank in 2013 has caused tensions with the country’s Supreme Court. Boric said he was convinced, after conversations with jurists, that the process against Jorge Mateluna was flawed — to which the court responded that the president was usurping judicial functions. (El PaísRadio Chile)

  • Boric also pardoned a dozen people convicted in connection with widespread 2019 social protests. (Reuters)


  • Critics say lifting the U.S. Title 42 policy that bars most undocumented migrants from entering the country will cause a border crisis — but “there is already a migrant surge, because the pandemic policy was never an effective border-control tool,” reports the New York Times.


  • Guyana’s Court of Appeals declined to strike down the country’s death penalty, a landmark challenge to capital punishment that activists promised to continue in the Caribbean Court of Justice. (See today’s Just Caribbean Updates)

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing

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