Tuesday, August 29, 2017

ELN Trying to Increase Leverage

The Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) attacked an oil pipeline in Colombia, which compelled the government to shut it off. The ELN has been in talks with the government and this sort of attack is intended to put pressure on President Santos to make more concessions. This is a tricky move because the ELN will also need to prove it can stop being violent. In July 2015, for example, the FARC announced a unilateral ceasefire, which almost certainly helped get to the peace negotiation finish line (the ceasefire became bilateral in August 2016). There had been talk that the ELN would do the same to coincide with the Pope's visit, so I guess they figure they should get some bombings in beforehand to remind the government of their strength.

Meanwhile, the hypocrisy of bombing pipelines is evident. The ELN claims to be on the side of the rural poor, while ensuring that raw oil periodically gets spilled in rural areas. All those spills mean woe for farmers, those who rely on fishing, etc.


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