By Frank Varelas Suarez
Last November 2014 and September 2015 respectively, the book tours for “¿Por qué Negociar con el ELN” (Why negotiate with the ELN?) and “Y sin embargo se mueve” (Nevertheless it advances) were launched in Colombia. They are an interesting tool to know what is happening about the exploratory dialogues and the future of peace between the National Colombian Government and the Guerrilla of the ELN. The above-mentioned books were edited by the professor Victor De Currea-Lugo who has been a scholar of the armed conflict in Colombia.
The ELN has said that a ““Convención Nacional” (i.e. a social compact) is needed as a pre-condition to the peace negotiations. These books seem to discuss what such a “Convención Nacional” would look like, because the contributors to the articles in the books all represent different viewpoints about Colombian politics. Among the authors are human rights defenders, academics, representatives of social organizations, victims, former guerrillas and ELN prisoners who, with their differences, come together for a common purpose: to provide for peace in Colombia.
The books’ contributions are very important to the future of the peace process between the Colombian Government and the ELN if we consider the demands that the ELN has consistently made for the participation of civil society in the peace process, during the past periods of unsuccessful negotiations and currently.
Also, it is important to highlight the legitimate space for discussion permitted by the Colombian Government in the Bellavista prison in Medellin Colombia between ELN prisoners and several different sectors of Colombian civil society. These discussions have made many contributions to the future of the peace process and, in one way or another, such contributions are exhibited in these books.
In conclusion, these books are a great tool to know the reality about to the peace process between the Colombian government and the ELN and they show the desire of civil society to have a Colombia without armed conflict and with a better future for all.
Note: the books in the links above are currently only available in Spanish.