Colombian president calls off peace talks with ELN

After the deadly attack at the police school in Bogota, president Duque has called off peace talks with the ELN.

The explosion of a powerful bomb inside the School of Cadets of the Police, General Santander in Bogota (Colombia) last Thursday caused the death of 21 people and injured 68.

The Colombian authorities have reported that the action was carried out by what appeared a suicide bomb. The material author, identified as José Almedas Rojas Rodríguez, broke into the police institution by force, breaking the security barrier, and reached the ceremonial courtyard where he detonated the car he was driving when a ceremony for new cadets was being held.

It has already been confirmed that one of the victims was a cadet from the Ecuadorian Police, and among the injured there are several cadets from that same country and from Panama.

According to various sources, 58 of the injured were of a mild nature and have already been discharged.

The Prosecutor's Office also reported that the bomb was composed of 80 kgs of pentalite, a powerful explosive mixture of TNT and pentrite, which is used to make anti-personnel mines.

All the country's parties have repudiated and condemned the deadly attack, as have all the countries of the region without exception.

The political and social impact of the attack has been enormous and while the country's President, the right-wing Ivan Duque, stated that: "this insane attack will not go unpunished," the former FARC-EP insurgent commander, Pastor Alape said that the attack "was a provocation against the political solution to the conflict" in clear reference not only to the Peace Agreement of Havana, signed by the Government of ex-President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC-EP in November 2016, but also to the decision of the current President to break the ongoing negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN)

The powerful attack has sharpened the political and social feeling that the Havana Peace Agreement have been a lost opportunity to resolve, through peaceful and political means, the armed conflict that Colombia has lived through for six bloody decades.

Since the signing of the Agreement, more than 300 social leaders, human rights activists and ex-guerrillas of the FARC-EP (now a legal party with the name FARC) have been killed without the State, which must guarantee the security aspects, making big efforts to identify the material and intellectual authors. To this we must add a permanent governmental disinterest to implement other agreed chapters of economic and social significance and in the application of transitory justice.

It remains to be clarified who have been the inducers of the bloody attack and their real intentions, but it seems clear that the consequences would be the strengthening of the "non-compliance" of the agreements and the Presidential refusal to resume negotiations with the ELN.