Peace negotiations between Colombia's government and the ELN guerrilla group have backtracked once again due to the issue of ongoing kidnappings by the rebels, highlighting how this issue has become a key stumbling block to the talks.
Colombia's defense minister announced that a questionably high number of ELN guerrilla fighters had been "neutralized" this year, in what appears an attempt by the government to understate the rebel group's size as it has done in the case of other criminal groups.
The governor of a Venezuela border state who frequently pointed out criminal activity by Colombia's rebel armies on his part of the frontier has been banned from public office for 15 years by the government of President Nicolás Maduro.
The arrest in Venezuela of alleged ELN members is a reminder of the value of the neighboring nation as a safe haven to Colombia's rebel group. Its rearguard use has grown due to the ELN's peace negotiations with Colombia's government, and Venezuela's own internal crisis.