The move towards peace with the ELN gives air to Petro

By Irene Escudero |

Havana (BLAZETRENDS).- Lately everything has been blows for Gustavo Petro, the most recent not from the opposition but from his close circle, hence the announcement of a bilateral ceasefire with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the longest that has been achieved with that guerrilla, finally gives the Colombian president air to breathe.

“In May 2025, the decades-long war between the ELN and the State will definitively cease,” assured a confident Petro, to whom the announcement of the 180-day bilateral ceasefire, which will begin on August 3, seemed too small and He wanted to set an end date for the conflict.

The president made the decision to travel to Cuba on Wednesday morning, before joining the demonstrations in favor of his government, where he took a mass bath and went up to one of the platforms where he is most comfortable: in front of the “people ”, speaking directly to him and telling himself, almost to himself, that he was not “a president abandoned in his presidential palace”.

The “friendly fire”

But the truth is that Petro, known for his self-absorption and distrust, has been very lonely for a week. A week ago he said goodbye to the person in whom he has placed the most trust since he arrived at the Casa de Nariño on August 7: Laura Sarabia, who was his chief of staff.

He was forced to do so after the illegal wiretapping scandal that persecutes the former official for an alleged theft of money from her home, of which her nanny is accused, a case in which another person also close to Petro entered: Armando Benedetti, until a week ago ambassador in Venezuela.

Benedetti, who a year ago was key to Petro’s electoral triumph, according to conversations leaked to the media, pressured Sarabia, who was his own secretary, to give him a more important position in the Government and threatened to reveal an alleged irregular financing of the electoral campaign.

This scandal worthy of a political series, in the style of “House of Cards”, has affected Petro, although for the moment it has not stained it. So the president, whose political reforms are not advancing in Congress and seems to be only losing, needed some good news. That they have finally come from one of the pillars of his Government: total peace.

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Steps towards peace, gives air to Petro

The ceasefire agreement with the last great Colombian guerrilla had already been closed days before and Petro himself revealed it, in a veiled manner, by uploading to his Twitter – where he has become even more entrenched these days – a photo at a military meeting where on a projected screen there was a slide explaining how this measure to reduce hostilities would work.

He was willing to get on the presidential plane, bound for Cuba for the first time, on Thursday at eight in the morning; he himself-a person who didn’t rise early-had set the time. But it was not even the two or three hours late that the president is used to: it was almost 12 hours after schedule when he landed on the island.

This time the delay got out -partly- of his hands. The two delegations asked for more time to finalize the final details of the agreement – which was signed just an hour before the event – and the closing of the third cycle of talks was delayed one day, so Petro was in no hurry to reach an agreement. Cuba.

But finally on the island he has given a photograph that with the FARC was only achieved at the end of the talks, when the final agreement was already signed: that of the head of state and the guerrilla leader, Eliécer Chamorro, alias “Antonio García”. , shaking hands.

Perhaps it seems like a hasty photo, since peace still has a long way to go, but it reveals that the negotiations with this guerrilla are very different from those of the FARC and that in any case, a ceasefire that relieves the most affected populations because of the Colombian conflict, it is always good news, and even more so if it happens in a bad streak.

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