ELN News

Colombia Govt, ELN Sign Ceasefire Amid Growing Dissidence

Colombia Govt, ELN Sign Ceasefire Amid Growing Dissidence

The government of Colombia and the country's largest remaining guerrilla group have agreed to a bilateral ceasefire, but the rebels' lack of unity may make enforcement difficult.

ELN Profile

ELN

ELN

The National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional - ELN) is one of the two main guerrilla armies with left-wing political ideologies operating in Colombia. Initially a Marxist-Leninist nationalist movement, it now appears more focused on kidnapping, extortion and attacks on economic infrastructure. And while it eschewed drug trafficking for decades, it has recently been linked to the narcotics trade and has sought alliances with large drug trafficking organizations. Militarily, it has been greatly debilitated and has dropped from an estimated 5,000 soldiers in the early 1990s to a force believed to number around 2,500 fighters.

More ELN News

  • ETA-FARC Ties Exposed

    • Interpol has issued a red alert regarding the capture of Victor Ramon Vargas Salazar, a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC), reports Spanish newspaper El Pais. Salazar is accused of acting as the liaison between the FARC and the armed Basque nationalist group known as ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna.) Vargas was indicted in 2010 by Spain's Supreme Court, along with six other ETA members, charged with possesion of explosives and conspiracy to commit murder. Salazar allegedly traveled to Spain on two separate occasions during 2000 to keep an eye on the Colombian Embassy while ex-President Andres Pastrana was abroad, and reportedly received support in collecting intelligence from ETA members. Salazar is also accused of being involved in a plot to murder Pastrana and, later on, President Alvaro Uribe. According to Semana, ties between the ETA and the FARC date from 1993 when they first made contact in Cuba; ETA also reportedly trained the FARC in making and using explosive devices, and exchanging their procedures.
  • Rebels, BACRIMs Ally in Northern Santander

    Leftist guerrilla groups are allying with neo-paramilitary bands in Northern Santander, a state where these rival groups once battled fiercely for territory. These types of alliances between the left wing guerrillas and criminals groups, descendants of the right-wing paramilitaries, are becoming increasingly common across Colombia, and are forged in the interests of drug trafficking. 

  • Documentary Film Explores Kidnapping in Colombia

    The U.K. release of “My Kidnapper,” a documentary film about a British former hostage's meeting with his captors, ex-members of Colombian rebel group ELN, draws attention to the declining role of guerrilla organizations in the country’s kidnappingindustry.

  • FARC Step Up Offensive in Arauca

    In the most serious attack yet this year by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC), at least 29 soldiers were injured by a roadside bomb in the eastern department of Arauca.

    This department, a stronghold for leftist guerrilla groups due to its oil wealth and proximity with the Venezuelan border, is still a long ways from being controlled by the Colombian security forces, and may become a top priority for the armed forces this year.

  • Colombia's Counter-Drug Efforts Increasingly Complicated by Landmines

    As drug trafficking organizations make aerial eradication more difficult, authorities must rely on manual eradication, in which they are vulnerable to sniper attacks and, increasingly, landmines.  Colombia is leading South America in annual landmine deaths, and is second only to Afghanistan in the number of mine victims globally.

  • Leaked Cable Says Cuba Supports FARC and ELN

    According to a recent diplomatic cable sent by the United States Interest Section, the U.S. government has "reliable reporting indicating the presence of the ELN, the FARC, and the ETA  members in Havana." The cable, released this week by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks and published in the Spanish newspaper El Pais, reveals some possible shifts in relations between the FARC and Cuba.

  • ELN Leader Calls for Constitutional Assembly

    Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista, alias Gabino, the top leader of the National Liberation Army reappeared to call for a Constitutional Assembly just as many analysts were calling the rebel group finished, the Colombian Semana weekly reported

  • 37 Dead from Guerrilla Attacks in September

    September has been one of the bloodiest months on record in recent years for Colombia's armed forces with guerrilla ambushes taking the lives of 37 security forces personnel, the majority policemen, Vanguardia Liberal reported.

  • Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, alias 'Gabino'

    Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, alias "Gabino," was a peasant recruit who rose to become the commander-in-chief and political leader of Colombia guerrilla group the National Liberation Army (ELN). He is one of the group’s elders and maintains strong ties to Cuba, which has supported the guerrilla group since the 1960s.

  • Eliecer Erlinto Chamorro, alias 'Antonio Garcia'

    Eliecer Erlinto Chamorro, alias "Antonio Garcia," is the number two commander in Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group.

Investigations

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Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

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InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

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Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.