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Last Updated:2/22/01
Peace on the Table: ELN

Peace on the Table
a summary of demands and proposals for peace from the various actors in the Peace Process


A. Vision of the Conflict
B. The Negotiation
1. Criteria for the Negotiation
2. Clarification of the Negotiation Proposal and Process
3. Purpose of the Negotiation
C. Dialogues
D. Humanization of the Conflict
1. The Concept of Humanization
2. The Pact for Life
3. The International Fact-finding Commission
4. The Actors in the Conflict
E. Participation of the International Community

A. Peace
B. The ELN Vision regarding the Essential Topics for a Possible Negotiation Agenda
1. Political Participation
a. The People's Power and the New Government
b. The National Convention
2. Socioeconomic Aspects
3. The Agrarian Issue
4. Justice
5. National Sovereignty
6. The Armed Forces
7. Environment and Ecology
8. Native Indigenous and Black Communities
9. National Identity
10. Drug Trafficking
11. Foreign Policy and Continentalism
12. Oil
13. Urban Reform



A. Vision of the Conflict

"Although it seems paradoxical, war, with all its cruelties and pain, is the only possible balm that can rupture the reign of terror held by the powerful over the weak. However, war, revolutionary war that is, has a political, humane dimension which seeks to rebuild the dreams and hopes of millions of men and women who have been disfavored, excluded, and downtrodden by a sociopolitical network imposed by those who hold the political and economic power. Thus, a paradoxical relationship between war and peace rises from the ashes; they are complements, they are derivatives one of the other, they are both part of a historic course that, instead of opposing them, ties them together, joins them, links them. The interrelationship between the two is well illustrated by our philosophy, because we make war to conquer peace with social justice". 5

B. The Negotiation

Some of the documents in which the ELN makes a general exposition of the various aspects relating to a possible political negotiation of the conflict are quoted below.

1. Criteria for the Negotiation

" The phases shall be developed using the following minimum criteria as a foundation:

- The ELN shall act according to the provisions defined in the Segundo Congreso de la Unión Camilo Torresa Ejército de Liberación Nacional - UCELN (Second Camilo Torres Union National Liberation Army Congress) and to the conclusions drawn in the Second and Third National Meets and in the National Directorate Plenaries.

- The Coordinadora Guerrillera Simón BolÍvar - CGSB (Simón Bolívar Guerrilla Movement Coordinating Body), in its capacity as representative of all of the various guerrilla movements, shall broach the dialogues and the negotiation.

- The negotiation shall be open to the people.

- The negotiation shall be held within our country. We do not discard the possibility that at some moment within the process some undertaking of interest to the parties may be carried out outside of our country.

- The negotiation shall be trilateral. Although it is true that there are two actors in the armed conflict - the State and the insurgency-, the so-called "civilian society" plays an important role as a third voice in the conflict. It has an enormous potential as mobilizing force, due to its intellectual capacity and political adherence to one or the other of the actors in the conflict. This makes the participation of this "civilian society" indispensable in the deliberations, specially those to be carried out in the various regions. It is also essential for the civilian society to guarantee all agreements once they have been reached.

- The negotiation shall have International Accompaniment in the guise of the INTERNATIONAL PEACE PROTECTION INSTITUTE

- The negotiation process shall take place in the midst of armed confrontation. Acts of war shall not distract the process nor shall it require cease fires in order to be developed.

- The negotiation shall follow the principle of bilateralism. Every agreement shall be equally binding on both parties and no unilateral acts by one of the parties shall be accepted.

- The negotiation shall not require prior conditions. Neither of the parties shall attempt to gain advantage over the other by establishing prior conditions as pre-requisites, either at the initiation of the dialogues or during same.

- The negotiation shall provide equal dissemination opportunities. Both parties shall have the same opportunities and rights to inform both the National opinion and international opinion on the developments arising within the process. A bilateral agreement shall be required for media handling and such agreement shall stipulate an ethic of objectivity, veracity and mutual respect.

- The negotiation shall require prior guarantees. The State is bound to grant the guarantees which the insurgency may require for the peace process in the midst of war. There shall be various guarantees including one for fair communication, one for guaranteeing the relationship with the so-called civilian society, one for collectivization and internal consulting, one for security, one for free access to the press media and to public opinion." 6

2. Clarification of the Negotiation Proposal and Process

In the published conclusions of the "Second Camilo Torres Union National Liberation Army", held in 1990, the following clarification is furnished regarding the negotiation proposal and process suggested by the ELN.7

The negotiation proposal has two parts. "The first part is aimed at seeking a global solution to the conflict. The second part is aimed at seeking solutions to some aspects of the conflict, to a specific problem within the country; it is what we call partial negotiation".

The ELN defines the first part, that is global negotiation, as follows:

· "To form a new Government with democratic participation, the people's participation, and revolutionary participation.

· To put an end to the current official army and form a new people's army that shall ensure sovereignty and that shall deal with corruption in its ranks. This new army shall be willing to create a relationship of collaboration with the civilian population, not one of repression and death.

· To put into practice a program seeking democracy, sovereignty, life with dignity and the greatest well-being for the National majorities.

· To adopt an international policy which shall free our country from the ties of dependency currently maintained with the United States and which shall establish relationships based on equality with all of the countries around the world, specially the Latin American ones. To develop an attitude of non-alignment and of support to all causes that seek progress, independence and the well-being of the peoples.

The second part, that is partial negotiation, is defined by the ELN as follows:

· "To seek the negotiation of a pact for life whose fundamental raison d'être is the humanization of war.

· To seek agreements which shall lead us to Nationalizing our natural resources, specially oil.

· To negotiate these aspects or others that may arise does not imply a political solution to the conflict; they are aimed at satisfying heart-felt claims of the people and the Nation".

3. Purpose of the Negotiation

For Manuel Pérez, the most important aspect of negotiation was its purpose:

"...the issue of first importance in the final objective of the negotiation is not whether there is a surrender of arms or not, but is solving the problems which have caused us to take up arms in the first place.

... we have to stop thinking so much about the preparation for the dialogues and start thinking about their ends.

... nobody shall leave the negotiation table. They shall remain out of respect, out of the commitment to continue with the negotiations. Nonetheless, the availability of permanent consulting and the mechanisms to do so must be guaranteed.

Peace-making has always been considered in terms of subjugation, and virtually, surrender.

... to really affect the conflict, a negotiation must be geared to solving its causes, not its consequences. The consequences shall be solved as the causes are solved.

If, when the causes are being adjusted, it becomes evident that political changes must be made, then an analysis must be made as to how to do so...

The causes of the conflict that we are now subjected to have deep-rooted historic origins. These causes shall have to be recognized, identified and analyzed to see how to solve them.

The discussion itself shall indicate the path to take. With the participation of the various social forces, the insurgency forces, and the civilian society as a whole, topics will be broached as they arise. The discussion itself shall enable its participants to find the authentic answers to how to run the country so as to solve our problems.

The Government has said these dialogues must be useful, we say that they must be fair and well-balanced and that they must guarantee the search for justice and problem solving". 8

In February 1998, in the latest document published by the ELN, it makes the following clarifications:

"We consider that demobilizing the insurgency is not the starting point from which a political solution can be built. Such political solution must be constructed using the direct participation of social and political organizations, taking advantage of the creativity of those who suffer of being excluded from this anti-democratic, antiquated system.

Peace is not a monopoly of the Government nor of the dominant classes. Seeking a political solution, the processes of demobilization and surrender of arms have already been exhausted in this country. That model is now impossible for us and the other forces forming part of the Simon Bolivar Guerrilla Movement Coordinating Body to even consider. To our compatriots, we state very clearly that there is no possibility at all along those lines". 9

C. Dialogues

Regional Dialogues
"Productive dialogues can only exist within a framework of a global negotiation or by recognizing that a National dialogue is the guiding light for the regional dialogue, and that such regional dialogue is essential to make the National dialogue well-known. They shall occur simultaneously but the regional dialogues shall follow the terms of the National dialogue. Along those lines, regional dialogues would make sense". 10

Venue of the Dialogues
"It is not important to determine whether the dialogues are held in the country or abroad. What is, are the criteria to be used: security, and the people's participation in a public manner". 11

"Of course for us it would be ideal to have the dialogues here, because the conflict takes place here and because we believe that all of us Colombians are participants in this conflict. Also because the problems that we are going to broach are social problems that have to do with the people's work, education, health, housing, economic problems, living conditions. They also have to do with development conditions for the country, the distribution of wealth, political conditions for how to make our democracy a living element, and the right of the majorities to participate in decision- making. We truly hope that this dialogue shall take place, respecting the position of each and every one and not buying anyone's opinion with money". 12

Nature of the Dialogues
"The Government has proposed dialogues closed to the public, but we do not agree. The country must follow the negotiations in order to have greater participation, because all of the Colombians are interested in peace". 13

D. Humanization of the Conflict

1. The Concept of Humanization

According to the ELN classification, the negotiations of a partial nature include a pact for life whose fundamental principle is the humanization of war. We include below a series of declarations, made by various members of this guerrilla group, that illustrate this idea in a general manner.

"Since 1985 the ELN has proposed that the HUMANIZATION OF WAR be covered in a pact or treaty between the contending actors and that such pact or treaty should regulate the use of force and protect innocent bystanders from the rigors of war during armed conflict.

The HUMANIZATION OF WAR in itself is a starting point in seeking paths toward the political settlement of the conflict and shall enable building the basic trust and the political and material conditions needed in the heart of the State, the insurgency, the "Civilian Society" and the international community in order to build stable, lasting peace in our fatherland". 14

"We believe that, during the war and until paths toward peace are built as a political solution to the conflict, it is necessary for the insurgency and the Government to reach ad-hoc agreements. These agreements shall take into account what we have called the HUMANIZATION OF THE CONFLICT in order to achieve a PACT FOR LIFE. In this PACT FOR LIFE the civilian population is really protected, through which International Humanitarian Law can be applied, and Protocol II is also a ruling legal element to be respected by the parties in conflict. Nevertheless, the PACT FOR LIFE necessarily implies complying to International Law by respecting the international rules which apply to our conflict in particular and to the concrete conditions in our country". 15

"We do not believe that International Humanitarian Law should be part of a negotiation. It must be the essence of a State's legislation...

... for the conflict, IHL and the Protocols are not sufficient. They work toward humanizing the confrontation, not settling it...If, when at war, the most complex of situations, we have the quality and capacity to understand and humanize, we shall have the capacity to start a process...At this time, we believe that a valid path to lead us to peace is for us to establish an agreement for the REGULARIZATION of the conflict".16

"The need to humanize the conflict cannot wait for the belated, incomplete answers offered by International Humanitarian Law. Although it is important to use it as a reference, we must go beyond that point, marching along a path well known and even recommended by Humanitarian Law itself. It is the path that leads to special or specific agreements between the confronted parties, agreements that adjust to war's own needs and to its particular characteristics".17

"The objectives of the treaty that we propose to enter into are to safeguard the civilian population not involved in the hostilities from the rigors of war, to identify the actors in the conflict, to agree upon rules to regulate the use of force and bilaterally limit the use of arms. This treaty shall lead us to seeking peace with dignity and social justice". 18

"THE PACT FOR LIFE that we propose has the following objectives:

1. To protect the population not involved in the hostilities from the rigors of war.

2. To ensure that prisoners and detainees are treated humanely and that their dignity is respected.

3. To guarantee that people are not killed for thinking differently and that it be possible in Colombia to build an alternative opposition.

4. To ensure that people's organizing and social protest do not become criminal offenses.

5. To guarantee that persons displaced by war and those exiled can return to their hometowns and be covered by a special State Program to repair damages to them and to give them compensation for their suffering.

6. To shed light on all war crimes and crimes against humanity.

7. To ensure that there is fair justice for the intellectual and material authors of these crimes and that their victims be morally, economically and socially indemnified as well as their families and their communities for the damage caused.

8. To dismantle paramilitary groups and clearly identify the actors in the conflict.

9. To exercise strict control on the use of force.

10. To limit the use of determined weapons and methods of combat.

11. To respect, preserve and abide by HUMAN RIGHTS in a total manner so that they be applied throughout the National territory, not only in confrontation zones.

The AGREEMENT FOR THE HUMANIZATION OF WAR shall be applied throughout the National territory, not only in confrontation zones.

Making the provisions of this Agreement a reality and applying them in a continuous, sustained manner requires monitoring and overseeing by an INTERNATIONAL PEACE PROTECTION INSTITUTE. In order to perform its labor, this institute shall need to locate, throughout the National territory and in the confrontation zones, a great number of experienced, international officials who shall ensure that the parties effectively apply the provisions of this Agreement.

The UCELN is a political-military organization which has been up in arms during the past 31 years. Its political-ideological beliefs espouse the most noble ideals for the Colombian people. Since its very beginnings, it has brought itself as well as its men and women up to follow a humanist ethic with a great revolutionary ideal.

The political armed struggle to take over the power for the people and by the people has been disseminated throughout most of the country by using methods of political and military control in vast areas thus creating embryos of power for the people.

It is a structured National organization with a central command, with its own cultural forms, among them its symbols.

For that reason the UCELN has all of the characteristics and conditions needed for it to agree to, sustain, and apply a HUMANITARIAN AGREEMENT.

Within its legal framework the UCELN has a CODE OF WAR that regulates the use of force. Among its rules we state the following:

· Force commanders shall avoid sacking and pillage.

· Damage to civilian goods and facilities shall be avoided and, if it should occur, all possible repairs shall be made.

· Persons participating in paramilitary groups as well as their goods shall no longer be considered civilian population and goods.

· Minors under 15 years of age shall not be incorporated into the Permanent Military Force.

· Killing or wounding an adversary who surrenders or who is unable to fight is prohibited.

· Damage to the environment shall be avoided to the extent possible during sabotages.

· No facilities containing harmful forces such as waters in dams or nuclear material shall be attacked.

· Members of the organization who violate the Code of War shall undergo exhaustive investigation.

· Members of the guerrilla found guilty of any of the above shall be severely punished.

In addition, we incorporate into the Code of War six recommendations that INTERNATIONAL AMNESTY formulated for the Insurgency Movement when it made its report on Colombia in 1994. These recommendations are:

· To treat humanely prisoners, the wounded, and those trying to surrender, whether they be civilians or members of the Armed Forces. Under no circumstance shall their lives be taken.

· The deliberate and arbitrary homicide of non combatants is prohibited under any circumstances.

· The captured shall not be used as hostages. Detainees shall be identified and they shall be released safe and sound.

· Mines shall not be used to deliberately kill or mutilate civilians.

· Abuses allegedly committed by guerrilla members shall be investigated in order to determine responsibilities.

· Guerrilla members suspected of having committed or ordered abuses shall be relieved of any authority and of any service which would place them in a position to commit abuses again". 19

3. The International Fact-finding Commission

The ELN has publicly stated its willingness to submit itself to an investigation by the International Fact-finding Commission concerning compliance to International Humanitarian Law. The Fact-finding Commission is a body created by virtue of Article 90 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. Its competence must be recognized by the parties involved in a conflict for it to investigate possible violations to International Humanitarian Law. This body was originally designed to function in situations of international armed conflicts; however, by extension, it now also operates in non-international armed conflict situations such as the one in Colombia today.

On June 16, 1995, the ELN Central Command, referring to an explosion in the San Antonio park in Medellín where persons belonging to the civilian population died, declared,

" that, for once and for all, we begin to protect the civilian population, detain the dirty war, and put a halt to impunity, we propose that, by mutual agreement between the Government and the insurgency, we request that the International Fact-finding Commission (Article 90 in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions) investigate this occurrence and indicate those responsible". 20

4. The Actors in the Conflict

The ELN has defined those that it considers to be its adversary.

"We hereby define who are our adversaries so that we can then deduce who shall be protected from the hostilities.

Direct Participants in the Counterinsurgency War:

1. State Forces: Officers and troops, intelligence organizations and agents, National and foreign military advisors, foreign troops intervening in the internal conflict.

2. Para-State Forces: The paramilitary, private security groups, private justice groups.

3. Agents of the Dirty War: Drug traffickers engaged in the counterinsurgency war; irregular terror corps connected with the State's armed forces; hired killers; those responsible for forced disappearances; torturers; massacrers; threateners; those who force people to flee from their territory; and all those whose hostile action is targeted against the revolutionary social base, the people organizing for political purposes and protesting, and political opposition.

Indirect Participants:

1. Financiers: Those who, by paying the war tax or through economic support or by supporting the infrastructure, contribute to sustaining the counterinsurgency war.

2. Ideologists, politicians, communication media workers, advisors and technicians who encourage the counterinsurgency war.

3. Arms manufacturers and merchants who supply to enemy forces.

E. Participation of the International Community

In several of its published documents, the ELN has proposed constituting an International Peace Protection Institute.

" The protection institute that we propose is a political figure arising from the need to "protect" the process, but not the country. It shall depend on the good will and good offices of the Governments of friendly countries and of international non-Governmental institutions of a humanitarian nature accredited worldwide". 21


Through public documents and internal circulation documents, the ELN has expressed a series of ideas on the topics which, in this group's opinion, are fundamental for discussion at a possible negotiation table. A synthesis of these ideas is given below.

A. Peace

"Peace is not a problem of public order, nor is it simply the absence of war, but it is a problem of social justice, sovereignty and National security". 22

"Our highest objective is to seek peace. We hope that, in doing so, this shall be the last war. We do not believe that we must go from one negotiation to another until the final war; that is what has been done up to now. We have had six negotiations so far and not in one has the basic problem been attacked. Because if we had done so, why would we still be up in arms?

...we believe that there is no expeditious political expression that can satisfy the authentic claims which gave rise to this struggle, except confrontation". 23

"We speak of a more humanitarian society, one that is more just, one with an economy able to ensure that the majorities may benefit from the distribution of wealth within this country. We want one that is fair, equalitarian, and humane where the population's social rights are respected, and, as a consequence, the humane person is the center of development. Taking all of the above into consideration, we believe that each one of those criteria must become concrete and must be built, precisely by all the social sectors that participate in building the society. We believe that this is the starting point to guarantee a democracy that attends the claims of all of the sectors of the population. For that reason, we wish to establish a social, economic, political framework, one which, of course, shall guarantee our sovereignty. With that as a starting point, we shall build a fair, equalitarian, democratic society". 24

For the ELN, "the peace policy that the country needs must include the following aspects:

IT MUST BE THE ENTIRE STATE'S RESPONSIBILITY, in the sense that not only the traditional public powers be committed, but that Article 22 of the National Constitution be obeyed: peace is a duty and a right of mandatory compliance.

IT MUST BE NATIONAL, in the sense that there be participation of all social sectors, all power factions and all trends of thought.

IT MUST BE PERMANENT, in the sense that it must have a strategy for peace that enables transcending immediate situations, current Governments and personal interests that are not concerned with the well-being of Colombia and its people".25

B. The ELN Vision regarding the Essential Topics for a Possible Negotiation Agenda

1. Political Participation

a. The People's Power and the New Government

For the ELN, "the people's full performance of its democratic power shall be the guiding principle for building the new Colombian society. By stimulating the initiative of all Colombians and collectivizing their freely-made decisions, our democracy shall ensure its authentic socialist future". 26

Pursuant to that philosophy, the National Liberation Army proposes "Destroying the Bourgeois State and building a State founded on the people led by the working class exercising their democratic rights, and also, forming a Democratic Revolutionary People's Government made up of the political and social forces that participate in destroying the old State". 27

In the document "A New Government for the Majority" the ELN National Directorate states, "The moment has come; it is urgent, it is imperious that we form a new Government of the majorities, a Government that is democratic, Nationalist, sovereign and morally transparent...

Feel assured that you can count on our decided, enthusiastic support for: moral restoration; the creation of an economy of the majorities; the construction of an active, energizing democracy; the population's social well-being and the defense of sovereignty...

We shall contribute to winning peace with social justice. Thereafter, the guarantee of life shall begin to solidify by building a sociopolitical program, in which the society as a whole shall participate as well as the armed insurgency and the new Government.

Today, a political solution is not an issue to be discussed with the insurgency, but with the ruling classes. The present crisis in our country demands a political solution, but a solution in which the interlocutors should be the governing class, the traditional parties, and the Nation as whole".28

At the III National Liberation Army of Colombia Congress held in July, 1996, in which the Minimum Program for Colombia Today and for a New Government was approved, the ELN affirmed that it still considers effective the "Twelve Proposals by the Simón Bolívar Guerrilla Movement Coordinating Body for Building a Peace Policy", proposal submitted on January 25th, 1992 to the National Congress functioning at that time. It further stated that the CGSB proposal for forming a democratic popular Government, submitted in November 1992, is also considered effective by the ELN.

At the same congress there was great insistence on forming a new People's Government of a democratic nature, with the participation of the social and people's organizations, of the various political organizations and parties, and of other living forces in the country. In this new Government, prominent leadership shall be held by the revolutionary forces. It shall be a Government for peace, for National dignity, for social justice and for development".29

b. The National Convention

"The Camilo Torres Union National Liberation Army summons the entire Nation to a NATIONAL CONVENTION for the purpose of seeking a believable solution to the present political crisis and to the Government that now exists in Colombia. This Convention shall define the new references for governing during the present situation of crisis and instability. It shall also concrete the procedures needed to form a new, broadly participative Government whose main labor shall be to establish a new legitimacy enabling such Government to overcome the current crisis. The new Government shall lead the country along the path to democracy, social justice and development. This new Government shall face and solve the problems that have always been postponed on the agenda of the former Governments and its main concern shall be the well-being of all Colombians".30

"We want to generate a dynamic process for dialoguing with the Nation, without intermediaries of any kind, in order to rip off the gags that the press, the radio and television have placed on the insurgency's opinions and ideas. How they have treated us and misrepresented us is unbelievable.

... We shall shape this great National meeting which we call NATIONAL CONVENTION by talking with the political movements and parties, with the social organizations, the trade unions, the Church, the National Reconciliation Commission, with the professional associations, and with important figures.

The NATIONAL CONVENTION must examine and make viable the CGSB proposal to summon a NATIONAL CONSTITUTION DRAFTING ASSEMBLY which shall be a true peace treaty for all Colombians. A NATIONAL CONSTITUTION DRAFTING ASSEMBLY shall head us towards a new Government that shall espouse and put into practice the 12 proposals formulated by the CGSB for the Colombia that we desire.

We also consider it important, during the NATIONAL CONVENTION process, to initiate a political treatment for the border conflict with Venezuela. The ELN shall work towards that, as of this moment".31

Below we have transcribed the text of the pre-agreement signed by the National Government and the ELN on February 9th, 1998 in Madrid, Spain. The bases for the summons to the National Convention for Peace, Democracy and Social Justice are set herein.

"Pre-agreement Entered into at the Viana Palace

Since we are aware that the solution to the armed social political conflict in Colombia requires a broad process of dialogue and joint action involving all of the sectors of the Colombian society in order to lay the foundations for transformations within this country as well as transformations of its institutions for the purpose of attaining peace with democracy and social justice, the Colombian Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) with the participation of the Comisión de Conciliación Nacional - CCN (National Reconciliation Commission) and thanks to the good offices granted by the Government of Spain, agree upon the following:

1. Summoning a National Convention for Peace, Democracy and Social Justice whose purpose shall be to structure an agreement to be developed in all legislative bodies and all possibly indispensable spaces, even if that requires summoning a National Constitution Making Assembly, as the insurgency has been proposing or calling for a referendum thus encouraging the broad democratic participation of all Colombians.

2. Summons the National Convention after a preparatory meeting to be held on the 5th, 6th and 7th of June of this year at a location in the Colombian territory to be previously defined by the parties. This meeting shall have the following characteristics:

- The Government and the ELN shall participate with three (3) delegates each. Their decisions shall be made by consensus.

- The CCN shall participate with three (3) representatives. Their mission shall be to serve as facilitators for the dialogue and joint action.

- Delegates shall be invited as witnesses. These delegates shall be: one (1) delegate from the Government of Spain, one (1) delegate for each one of the Presidential candidates in the second round of the Presidential elections -if the case should be -, one (1) delegate for the President Elect and one (1) delegate for the party that received the second highest number of votes during the elections, the President of the National Congress, the President of Central Unitaria de Trabajadores - CUT (United Association of Workers' Trade Unions), the President of Unión Sindical Obrera - USO (United Laborers' Trade Union), one (1) delegate for the Council of Entrepreneurs, one (1) representative for the non-governmental organizations in charge of the defense of Human Rights, one (1) representative for the Mandate for Peace and one (1) representative for the Communist Party.

- The preparatory meeting sessions shall be reserved and the decisions made therein shall be made known to the public opinion through communiqués agreed upon mutually by the parties.

- The Government and the ELN shall ensure the participants to this meeting all necessary security, employing the same procedure as the one used in Santana, Antioquia, on November 2nd, 1997. The Government shall grant necessary guarantees for transportation and negotiation.

- The preparatory meeting shall determine the parameters and logistics for the National Convention such as:

- Defining the bases for transforming the social and political structures, through a joint action that shall take into account: the full application of Human Rights; social justice and economy; political democratization; the definition of the role of the Armed Forces in a country at peace; and sovereignty, integration and international ization; to name a few.

- Establishing the participants in the National Convention who shall not be more than 100 persons representing economic, political and social forces.

- The date and venue for holding the National Convention. It must take place after the second round of the Presidential election.

- Methodological aspects of the National Convention.

- Other elements essential for the National Convention.

3. In addition to seeking settlement to the political and social conflict, at the same time complementary aspects to develop the process leading to the termination of the armed confrontation shall be determined.

For the period of time that this armed confrontation persists, the parties shall agree upon a pact for life and humanization of the war in the framework of International Humanitarian Law. This pact shall also safeguard the civilian population.

4. The dialogue process for seeking a political settlement shall be considered initiated as of the signing of this pre-agreement. Its ratification shall additionally enjoy the accompaniment of the international community, in principle from Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica and Venezuela. The Government of Spain shall perform the duties of process facilitator, agent of good offices and host, whenever necessary. This accompaniment group may be broadened by agreement between the parties.

The international accompaniment must follow the principles of neutrality, impartiality and discretion.

5. This agreement must be ratified by the ELN in various meetings to be held in Itagüí with Commanders Francisco Galán and Felipe Torres and with Comando Central - Coce (Central Command) representatives at the site determined for that purpose. The same representatives of the Government and of the CCN who sign this act shall be the representatives who shall attend those meetings. This agreement shall also be ratified by the President of the Republic.

6. The Government of Colombia, the ELN and the CCN wish to thank the Government of Spain for its collaboration and hospitality which enabled reaching the point of this pre-agreement accord: we also thank the Government of Spain for its friendliness towards the Colombian people.

This act is signed at the Viana Palace, in the city of Madrid, Spain, on February 9th, 1998, by the Government of Colombia represented by José Noé Ríos and Daniel García, by the ELN Central Command and Directorate represented by Milton Hernández in charge of the International Front and by Juan Vásquez member of the International Front, by the CCN represented by Augusto Ramírez Ocampo and Ana Mercedes Gómez. Witnesses for the Government of Spain are Fernando M. Villalonga, Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America and Eduardo Gutiérrez Sáenz de Buruaga, General Director of Foreign Policy for Ibero-America".

2. Socioeconomic Aspects

· "To agree upon an economic policy whose axes shall be: our country's interests, not those of the United States and multinational companies; fair distribution of wealth; and improvement of living standards for the poorest, disfavored sectors.

· To seek growth without sacrificing the workers' employment and income; to increase wealth, but not for the benefit of only a few; to ensure economic development in terms of the well-being of the majorities.

· To seek sustainable development, which we believe in, to allow new advances, giving us new conditions to accede to higher technological and scientific levels which, with time, shall enable us to exploit our own resources.

· To also apply a policy for National exploitation of our natural resources tailored to our interests and needs, maintaining reserves to guarantee better exploitation.

· To respect and protect small and medium-sized industrial properties, craft industries, and mining properties, by developing an incentive policy that shall respond to the interest shown in the National Development Plan.

· To establish and combine different forms of private, State, collective, community, and joint property. Self-management processes shall be stimulated, specially promoting from the State the construction of a popular economy pole which is the future of a true economic democracy.

· The properties owned by multinational companies and the large monopolies shall be confiscated or shall be negotiated with their owners, depending on the behavior that such companies adopt regarding the people's struggle and the aspirations to change that our people have. It will also depend on their behavior toward the New Government and the economic and political proposals of our New Colombia.

· At any rate, the monopolies shall be limited and controlled as well as all foreign investment. They shall be submitted to the parameters of the National development, favoring business and industrial competitiveness without detriment to small and medium-sized businesses".32

The ELN proposes the following points as general guidelines for a social welfare policy:

· "To work towards significantly increasing social expenditure and towards improving the coverage and quality of basic services: electricity, water, sewerage, housing, health, education, and massive access to culture, sports and recreation.

· To establish a National health system that shall train and allocate human resources with a revolutionary ethic and the highest scientific quality possible to attend the people throughout the National territory.

· To carry out, with the participation of our workers and students in education, art and culture, a National education system that shall eliminate illiteracy, encourage the socialization of knowledge and equip the people with a critical mentality that shall be of benefit to all the transformations that the society requires.

· To make special efforts to change and improve the critical situations which, at this time, the poorest people in the city and in the rural zones are suffering. Also, to make the living conditions of our senior citizens and our children, and the rehabilitation of the disabled and victims of the war a main concern".33

3. The Agrarian Issue

The ELN synthesizes its "policy for the rural zones" by indicating the following points:

· An agrarian reform shall be carried out that shall distribute to the peasants without land the properties, held by land owners, drug traffickers and large landed estate owners. A new credit policy shall be developed which shall very specially cater to the poor and low-income peasants, stimulating models of cooperatives, community associations, and methods of profitability. Marketing systems shall be organized that eliminate intermediaries, lower costs and prices, and offer assistance to help improve productivity and efficiency.

· A National food industry shall be encouraged to solve internal consumption needs. Simultaneously, commercial relations shall be sought in the international market.

· Small and medium-sized farming and agricultural product businesses shall be supported, and generally speaking, non-monopoly businesses that contribute to the economic proposals of the New Government. These businesses must operate within the framework of renewed salary parameters, regional planning joint action plans, redistribution of profits, and new aspects regarding worker-employer relationships.

· Those families who were forced to flee from their territory due to the war shall be guaranteed the possibility of returning to their lands and resources shall be allocated to help them improve their situation, to the extent possible".34

4. Justice

· "Justice in Colombia has become an instrument of the counterinsurgency war; it inhibits and persecutes the right to rebel and the right to political opposition and makes the act of the people organizing politically and protesting a criminal offense. It undermines social integrity and National unity, because paying rewards in exchange for information turns man into his own worst enemy.

· The public order legislation (regional justice) uses veiled prosecutors and judges, hidden witnesses, secret indisputable evidence, and intelligence reports for evidence in court. It accepts sentencing without proper trial, penalizing political offenses, increase of sentence for political offenses, and violates the right to defense. This justice is determined using anti-Communist counterinsurgent criteria".35

· "At different times, international courts, Human Rights committees, and humanitarian NGOs have condemned this secret justice and have invited the Colombian Government to repeal it. Along the same lines, the Brussels Manifesto for Human Rights for Colombia was promulgated; we adhere to this manifesto. It states the following on this topic: repealing regional jurisdictions (secret justice) and adopting a new judicial reform shall ensure the judges' independence and guarantee the parties' rights".36

· "HUMANIZATION OF JUSTICE. The humanization of justice shall entail a deep-rooted judicial reform that shall repeal the military special jurisdiction, allow preserving parties' rights, and make all men equal before the law. It also shall combat impunity in all of its expressions. VEILED JUSTICE shall be immediately repealed and ordinary justice shall be strengthened; this shall thus create a public system of proceedings in open courts, a justice recovering the use of conscientious judges, witness confrontation and the right to defense. THIS reform shall review and build a penitentiary system aimed at rehabilitating its prisoners through work and education and by respecting their dignity. THIS justice shall be equal for all; it shall not privilege the oligarchy with all kinds of guarantees and rights while it denies the populace, the people, their minimum guarantees". 37

· "Judicial power entities shall be built that shall ensure the end of impunity, promote citizen coexistence, and punish the corrupt and those who commit crimes against humanity. May the exercise and application of a just implementation of the law operate, based on procedural law and adjective law guarantees, when judging offenses against the society, and, may this new law be the foundation for the New Constitution".38

5. National Sovereignty

"We shall start using a patriotic behavior of sovereignty, National self-determination and independence regarding the United States, other imperialists and transnational companies, thus developing our own concept of National sovereignty.

Neocolonial relationships, multinational companies' sacking, and the oligarchic subordination to the economic and political interests of the masters from the North have been the main obstacles hindering our development.

Therefore, new relations with foreign capital and new conditions for multinational company investment and natural resource exploitation shall be established. Foreign investment shall be accepted, provided that it transfers technology, leaves us resources and takes economic and social development priorities into account.

The relationship of subordination to IMF impositions shall be reorganized. The foreign debt shall be re-negotiated, it shall be declared in moratorium, and a new framework for a new relationship with international banking shall be established. Treaties which are harmful to the New Nation shall be eliminated and border treaties shall be respected within the framework of International Law".39

6. The Armed Forces

"We shall organize a new army using the insurgency forces as a base. New police forces and security forces shall also be organized. War criminals shall be punished. A patriotic army shall be formed, ruled by the postulates of the New Government, ruled by internationalism, independent from the United States and guided by the new political realities which shall be established upon taking the State power away from a reduced handful of persons, the oligarchy. This new army and these new security forces shall be guided by their respect for Human Rights and by the population's fair right to make claims and protest".40

7. Environment and Ecology

· "We shall foster scientific-technical development and advances in the various fields that take into account the balance that man needs with nature and the preservation of the environment, as a heritage of humanity.

· We are in favor of the preservation of animal and vegetable species which guarantees their rational use and their survival.

· Our biodiversity shall be part of our sovereignty and it shall be used rationally.

· We shall demand, before the international community, that the transnational companies pay for and repair damages to our ecosystem caused by the irrational exploitation of our raw materials.

· We shall make scientific-technical efforts to eliminate waste in order to avoid damage to the environment and to ecology".41

8. Native Indigenous and Black Communities

· "Our native Indigenous communities' rights to their culture, territory, autonomy and authority shall become a reality and we shall encourage their social, economic and cultural development.

· We shall recognize and encourage the claims made by the Colombian black communities struggling to rescue their culture, to have their territories recognized as joint property, to recover their respect and value as an ethnic group, and to eliminate their being discriminated because of their color." 42

9. National Identity

· "In order to strengthen building our National identity and unity, a task that the Dominating Block could not achieve, we need to build a new democratic trend of thought for the people, one that shall acquire the understanding and develop the will that we need to be able to assume commitments for change.

· An ideological project plan shall be implemented which shall carry out educational, cultural and communication actions aimed at the people in terms of those National proposals. This project shall be based on rescuing community progressive values and practices. These practices shall be developed by the Colombian people keeping in mind their Latin American cultural roots and memory.

· This project claims the right to free expression and to freedom of belief. It also takes cultural diversity into account.

· Also, we propose to give free rein to individual initiatives and initiatives made by the various social groups in building our New Colombia into something to be emulated".43

10. Drug Trafficking

· "Within the framework of our policy regarding this phenomenon, we shall handle this problem autonomously and sovereignly and we shall fight the drug trafficking business throughout the National territory. We shall seek a global agreement with the international community for it to take effective control measures against consumption and against the mafias who process and commercialize narcotics within their territory. We shall not permit extradition of our Nationals.

· We shall reject any imposition or interference by the Government of the United States and we shall demand reciprocal efforts to our National efforts.

· In order to eradicate illicit crops and substitute them with licit crops, we shall keep in mind as a priority the need to find economic alternatives for our peasantry associated with illicit crops. Furthermore, we must find substitute sources of income for the population involved in the various drug trafficking related activities.

· We shall encourage training processes and rehabilitation for all of the addicts and drug addicts, thus seeking to overcome and eliminate drug dependency". 44

· "We believe that, above all, this is a highly ethical issue because drug trafficking is a crime against humanity.

· Since we, the Camilo Torres Union National Liberation Army UC-ELN, defend human life and its integrity, we have historically observed a philosophy and behavior that condemns and avoids all activities related to narcotics and their trafficking. Such behavior enables us to have the ethical, moral authority to propose and call for formulas for solutions to be agreed upon among all of the countries in the world.

· We have declared over and over again that we have no link to nor activity with drug trafficking within this country or abroad...

· This plague affects all of humanity. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the entire international community to promote vast development plans, including support and management, enabling the substitution of illicit crops, hindrance of the production and commercialization of inputs, attention to those hurt by the damaging effects of drug addiction in a humanitarian fashion, education to reduce consumption and protection of youths and children".45

11. Foreign Policy and Continentalism

· "We shall develop a foreign policy, autonomous and independent of any control by any power. This foreign policy shall have solidarity with other Third World countries. It shall respect and support the self-determination of all peoples and specially of the Cuban people and their revolution.

· It shall be a policy with an explicit Latin American orientation. Because, to the extent that the continent acts as a block and ties of brotherhood collaboration and integration are determined, Latin America shall win its position within the international context. At that time, each one of its countries shall be able to define its own path, destiny and development in an autonomous, sovereign fashion. Within this policy, Colombia shall maintain relations with all of the states around the world".46

12. Oil

"On many occasions we have proposed:

· Nationalizing the exploitation of our natural resources.
· Reviewing Partnership Contracts.
· Reviewing State Concessions which are currently effective.
· Establishing a strategic hydrocarbon reserve.
· Handling the prices for our hydrocarbons on the international market in a sovereign manner.
· Taxing one dollar per barrel for developing oil municipalities.
· Creating a National Oil Council, as a representative body of our Nation's and our people's sovereignty, whose function shall be to analyze the oil problem and propose formulas of benefit to our National interest.

Today we propose:

· A dialogue between USO, Ecopetrol and the Insurgency for the purpose of building an alternative of sovereign hydrocarbon handling which shall be the base for discussion of this topic in the dialogues and negotiations within the framework of the political settlement of the conflict.
· A summons to a National Energy Forum, with the participation of the oil, coal and electrical energy sectors, in which the proposal to develop the energy sector as a base on which to restructure a strong, sovereign National economy that shall simultaneously contribute to peace with social justice.

In this forum the ELN shall participate with its own proposals.

· The discussion of the Hydrocarbon Framework Bill of Law shall be taken to the communities, to union movements and social movements, to the academic sector, and to the petroleum engineering schools, so that they may all participate in making this law a starting point for an agreement for peace between the State, the Insurgency and the society.

· An open dialogue between the Association of Oil Companies and the Insurgency, for the purpose of seeking economic and social development alternatives, taking into account the geographic and human environment in the area of their establishments and production installations.

If our proposal and the workers' proposal are taken into account, we could then consider changes in our natural resource defense policy". 47

13. Urban Reform

"The very action of the urban communities shall make it possible to carry out an urban reform that shall solve the problems of disfavored neighborhoods, of housing, of illegal distribution of lots and of empty lots, of rent speculation by owners. This reform shall condone or re-negotiate housing debts contracted with State or private institutions; it shall control urban growth through planning and shall attend the needs of democratizing spaces according to the various activities of the community at hand".48

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