Cuba has issued an enigmatic alarm signal about a possible attack by the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Bogota. And although the Colombian government has valued the Cuban gesture positively, it has not yet been able to ascertain the veracity of the warning.
“Our embassy in Colombia received information, whose verisimilitude we cannot assess, about an alleged military attack by the ELN’s Eastern War Front for the next few days in Bogotá,” reads the letter, of only two paragraphs, that the ambassador of Cuba in Colombia handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the South American nation this week.
He closes the letter with the precision that “the ELN peace delegation in Havana expressed total ignorance” of the attack that his companions would be preparing. The Colombian Peace Commissioner, Miguel Ceballos, stated that this is a step in the right direction, attending to “compliance with the international obligations of all countries that are committed to persecuting armed groups that commit terrorist acts.” To then insist that the island’s Executive “must also officially respond to the request of the President of the Republic and the judges of Colombia for the extradition of the ELN members who are in Cuba.” Specifically, it refers, among others, to Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, alias “Gabino”, the band’s top leader, and Pablo Beltrán, its spokesperson.
It should be remembered that the aforementioned Front, under the command of alias “Pablito”, was the author of the car bomb massacre of twenty-two students from the Santander General Police School in January of last year. Since then, relations between the government of Iván Duque and the Cuban government have not gone through a good time. Bogotá demands the extradition of the guerrilla leader, who has taken refuge in the Caribbean island, and the Castro regime responds that it is prevented by the commitment acquired with the Executive of Juan Manuel Santos. They then agreed that if the peace talks carried out by the ELN and the Colombian government failed, the negotiators of the terrorist gang would return to Colombia, to the secret place they chose, to rejoin their group. That is, they could continue their terrorist activities. But the arrival of Duque to Casa Narino stopped that possibility, even more so after the massacre of the future policemen.
Miguel Ceballos also asked that the ELN clarify if it is a vertical command organization or if, on the contrary, the bosses do not control the decisions of their subordinates. “We will not be able to seek peace with a group that in addition to committing terrorist acts, is divided,” he said. Colombian politicians and analysts are trying to decipher the true intentions behind the letter. A few days ago, Juan Manuel Santos asked Joe Biden to remove Cuba from the list of nations that support terrorism, a measure that Donald Trump adopted and that his successor has maintained. And the letter makes it clear that for the Castro regime, the ELN is not a terrorist group. They do not write an attack but a “military attack”.