Colombia and leaders from the ELN guerilla group (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) renewed peace talks in Havana on Thursday, May 10, after the original host Ecuador pulled its support in April. Both sides have reaffirmed their desire to reach a ceasefire deal. Cuba was the host for the four-year long negotiations that brought about a 2016 peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
On April 18, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno announced that his country would suspend its involvement as the guarantor country for ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the ELN. Moreno said that Ecuador cannot remain as a guarantor while the ELN continues to conduct “terrorist” attacks. In response, ELN representatives said the group would meet with the two governments to find a solution and denied being involved in recent incidents.
Ecuador had been hosting talks between the Colombian government and the ELN in Quito since February 2017. However, in the absence of a bilateral ceasefire attacks by the ELN and anti-ELN operations by the Colombian security forces continued. Even if a ceasefire were to be implemented, violence would likely continue to some extent, as was the case during a 101-day bilateral ceasefire in place from October 2017 to January 2018. Furthermore, violence carried out by the country's various other armed groups (drug cartels, right-wing militias, local gangs, etc.) would continue as normal.
Individuals in Colombia are advised to keep abreast of the situation. Due to the presence of a number of armed groups, some Western governments advise against travel to various regions of the country.