Colombia’s High Commissioner for Peace, Miguel Ceballos, insisted Monday that Nicolás Maduro is an accomplice of the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas and FARC dissidents. The Commissioner also accused him of being an enemy of the peace implementation in the country.
Reports from multiple sources – from Colombia newspaper El Tiempo to the interim administration of Juan Guaido and Venezuelan NGOs- has it that said rogue guerrillas are involved in gold mining and drug trafficking as well as extortion and kidnappings in Venezuela.
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“The presence of the ELN and the presence of the FARC dissidents in Venezuela is more than proven,” assured Ceballos while adding that “the Government of Nicolas Maduro is an accomplice of the organized armed groups that affect the Colombian people with all their terrible crimes.”
Last week, the Colombian Army reported in a press conference the capture of a 15-year-old Venezuelan national who claimed to have been captured and trained in Venezuela but was performing criminal activities for ELN on Colombian soil.
Ceballos also said that these groups continue recruiting and kidnapping child soldiers and random victims in both countries. As well, the irregular groups planting anti-personnel mines in Colombia and then flee to Venezuelan territory.
“Nicolás Maduro and his dictatorship are becoming the worst enemies of the implementation of peace in Colombia, and that is why these types of denunciations must never stop,” he assured.
ELN and a FARC faction did not accept the hard-fought 2016 peace agreements in Bogotá. However, a big part of the FARC group accepted the deal and is now a minority political party in Colombia. Ceballos added that if someone “from Maduro’s dictatorship (tries) to say that they do not support the organized armed groups that cause crime and pain in our country, they are lying.”
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“We have to tell the truth to Colombians and the whole world: the regime of Nicolás Maduro protects the enemies of peace in Colombia,” he advanced.
While Colombian authorities have denounced that ELN and FARC dissidence leaders are in the oil country, Venezuela has accused Colombia of harboring in its territory camps of ex-military and promoting the organization of attacks, including one against Maduro.
Maduro broke off relations with Colombia on February 23, 2019, following the failed attempt by National Assembly President Juan Guaido to enter from the Colombian city of Cúcuta with a humanitarian aid caravan.
Since then, the stormy relationship between the two countries has deteriorated, and until today, there is no contact between the governments of Maduro and the Colombian president, Iván Duque.
Victims of anti-personnel mines
The Commissioner made these statements during the “National Dialogue Strengthening the Participation and Inclusion of the Victims of Anti-personnel Mines and Unexploded Ordnance,” where 14 organizations of victims of these devices participated.
Ceballos said that the victims of anti-personnel mines from 1990 until today rise to 11,994 people, of which 4,766 are civilians, and 7,228 are from the public force.
“Our government has delivered 154 municipalities free of suspected anti-personnel mines, that means about 40% of the total number of municipalities delivered in the history of Colombia,” he said.