Colombia’s ELN guerrillas take responsibility for deadly blast in Bogotá

miami heraldColombia’s second-largest guerrilla group has claimed responsibility for an explosion last week that injured dozens of policemen and left one dead in the heart of this capital city, casting a shadow over ongoing peace talks with the group.

In a statement posted on one of its social media accounts, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, said its “urban commandos” had placed the explosive on Feb. 19 near Bogotá’s iconic bullring that injured almost 30 people and killed one security officer.

Last week, the ELN had denied involvement in the attack.

The attack came as the ELN and the government of President Juan Manuel Santos began meeting earlier this month in Ecuador in hopes of hammering out a peace deal that would allow the 53-year-old guerrilla group to lay down its arms.

The administration’s policy when negotiating with guerrillas has been to maintain military pressure. In its communiqué, the ELN said it “urgently” wanted a ceasefire. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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