Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BOGOTA8649
2006-09-20 13:08:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bogota
Cable title:  

GUARANTORS SAY ELN CONGRESS DECIDED TO ACCEPT GOC

Tags:  PTER PGOV PREL MARR PHUM CO 
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C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 008649 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/19/2016
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL MARR PHUM CO
SUBJECT: GUARANTORS SAY ELN CONGRESS DECIDED TO ACCEPT GOC
CEASE-FIRE PROPOSAL

REF: A. BOGOTA 8284

B. BOGOTA 7917 (EXDIS)

Classified By: CDA Milton K. Drucker
Reason: 1.4 (b,d)

-------
Summary
-------

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 008649

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/19/2016
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL MARR PHUM CO
SUBJECT: GUARANTORS SAY ELN CONGRESS DECIDED TO ACCEPT GOC
CEASE-FIRE PROPOSAL

REF: A. BOGOTA 8284

B. BOGOTA 7917 (EXDIS)

Classified By: CDA Milton K. Drucker
Reason: 1.4 (b,d)

--------------
Summary
--------------


1. (C) ELN military commander Antonio Garcia told GOC-ELN
civil society guarantors Moritz Akerman and Alvaro Jimenez
the ELN would accept the GOC's offer of a mutual cease-fire
and would likely inform Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos
Restrepo during a "secret" meeting in Caracas on September

21. The ELN would raise three concerns with Restrepo: how
would it finance itself during the peace process period, what
kind of political activities would the GOC permit, and how
could the GOC help the ELN defend itself from the FARC. The
guarantors said they were struck by how often ELN leaders
quoted verbatim from Evo Morales speeches in discussing
future ELN political ambitions. End summary.

-------------- --------------
ELN Accept GOC Cease-Fire Offer, Meeting with Restrepo
-------------- --------------


2. (C) Antonio Garcia told Akerman and Jimenez the ELN's
Fourth Congress, its first in 10 years, recently decided to
accept the GOC's cease-fire offer (ref B),without
conditions. The ELN had three "concerns" that Garcia, ELN
negotiator Francisco Galan, and ELN prisoner Juan Carlos
Cuellar would raise with Restrepo in Caracas during a
"secret" meeting on Thursday, September 21. Restrepo told
Akerman the GOC had agreed to the ELN's request to release
Cuellar from Itagui prison for the Caracas talks as a
goodwill gesture. The ELN would ask Restrepo how it would
finance itself during a peace process, what kind of ELN
political activity the GOC would permit, and how the GOC
would help the ELN protect itself "and its communities" from
the FARC.


3. (C) Akerman said the Venezuelan government would
inaugurate the ELN-Restrepo meeting, after which its
representatives would withdraw and leave the parties alone to
talk. The guarantors would be in an adjoining room and would

be called if required. Cuellar would meet alone with Garcia
and Galan before the ELN group met with Restrepo. The talks
would be unlimited in scope and time, although Jimenez said
they would likely conclude by Sunday, September 24. Akerman
and Jimenez said they expected the ELN to inform Restrepo in
Caracas of its decision to accept the cease-fire.

-------------- --
Leadership, Political Decisions at ELN Congress
-------------- --


4. (C) Garcia told Akerman the ELN Congress confirmed
"Gabino" as the ELN's leader but re-elected Garcia as the
Central Command's (COCE) second most influential member.
Also re-elected to the COCE was Pablo Beltran. Garcia would
not discuss the remaining two slots on the COCE, ostensibly
for security reasons. Akerman and Jimenez said this
suggested pro-Cuban hardliner and COCE member Ramiro Vargas
may have been sidelined.


5. (C) Akerman said the Congress also decided the ELN would
count its "sympathizers" in its estimate of ELN supporters.
Akerman suggested this could be viewed as an effort to boost
flagging ELN numbers before any demobilization talks, or as
an attempt to begin forging a political movement. Jimenez
described Garcia's long analysis of ELN ideology and said the
ELN Congress had shifted its emphasis from the need for
"socialism" in Colombia, to stressing they were Colombians
first, ELN members second. He argued this shift was
important because Garcia alluded to the ELN accepting the
legitimacy of a government that was not "socialist."

-------------- -
ELN Political Ambitions, Evo Morales Influence
-------------- -


6. (C) The guarantors said their discussions with Garcia,
Galan, and others had persuaded them that the ELN's political
objective was to serve as a catalyst for a "social movement"
like that started by Bolivian President Evo Morales, rather
than run ELN candidates for election. Akerman and Jimenez
said they were surprised at how often ELN figures have
brought up the Morales example in recent meetings. The
guarantors said, "they know Morales' speeches by heart." The
ELN knew it had minimal support in Colombia and would not
form a separate political party or try to ally with leftist
parties. It wanted the establishment of up to 10 "Casas de
Paz" in major cities, as well as the right for ELN leaders to
proselytize freely throughout Colombia.


7. (C) The ELN had not addressed disarmament with the
guarantors, but Akerman planned a workshop in Medellin at
which the GOC and ELN would work on options to place the
ELN's arms "beyond use." The guarantors said the first six
months of a cease-fire would be focused on building
confidence between the parties. The second six months would
allow the ELN to participate in political activities if the
GOC were satisfied the ELN had subjected its weapons to some
kind of verifiable international supervision.
DRUCKER