By Eliza Davis and Michael Paczkowski, Research Associates at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
On Sunday, June 14, 2015, the Colombian military announced the death of prominent ELN commander José Amín Hernández Manrique in the northern department of Antioquia. The Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army; ELN) is a left-wing guerilla movement, operating under a Marxist platform with the aim of liberating Colombia. The death of Manrique, also known as "Marquitos," illustrates the rising tensions between the Colombian government and its left-wing guerilla adversaries, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revoluationary Armed Forces of Colombia; FARC) and the ELN. Colombia has been plagued by widespread violence for more than 50 years, which has produced some 220,000 deaths and another 5 million refugees.
The Colombian government and the FARC, the largest and oldest guerilla group in Colombia today, renewed peace negotiation talks-the fourth such attempted in the past 30 years-in December 2012 in Havana, Cuba. So far, the parties have agreed upon three terms of agreement: land reform, political integration, and drug trafficking. Consequentially, Bogotá and the FARC have yet to agree upon the reparations for the conflict's victims, the disarmament of the rebel forces, and the methods of implementation once a finalized agreement has been signed. While the ELN has had only a minimal presence in the Havana negotiations, the FARC has repeatedly encouraged a greater ELN participation in the discussion, facilitated by Bogotá's recent lift of the 182 arrest warrants against FARC Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Londono Echeverri.
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