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The threat from the ELN: this is how the guerrilla war challenges the Colombian state today

Eln should not be measured by the number of men in her arms. It must be done because of the political and military capacity it has in the regions and districts of the cities where it is present: the phrase belongs to one of the men of military intelligence who knows the guerrillas more this week, who has inflicted the heavier blow against police in the recent history of the country.

But it was not the only attack. In the middle of the week, they confirmed that they were responsible for the abduction of the helicopter crew for the Brinks, which had a million-dollar sum and was shot down in San José de El Tarra, Norte de Santander.

The offensive, according to the statement, was made with "anti-aircraft units of the Northeast War Front".

He surprised the revelation that ELN has batteries to shoot down planes; so much that it went unnoticed that they had information that there were about 1500 million dollars aboard that helicopter and few people noticed the intelligence capabilities of their facilities.

Two days after that message, and when the country was questioning the fate of the crew, a car bomb with 80 kilos of pentolite killed 2 policemen who attended the cadet class at the General Police School in Santander . There, even the victimist perpetrator died and it became clear that the intelligence of that guerrilla, with whom he tried an eventful peace process, was superior to the counter-espionage of the state.

"In the military field, ELN shows that it has no willingness to negotiate," said the source, who explained how factions operate in the service of the National Liberation Army.

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The ELN has six territorial fronts whose revenues are not only related to drug trafficking, there are leaders who do not want to get involved in the business because "they do not want to make the same mistake as the FARC".

"They say so clearly in their ranks, they do not want crops, laboratories, drug treatment or export management, because behind them is the coup d'état of the authorities, which is evident from the fact that they have never given him a shot like the one they gave to "Alfonso Cano" or "Mono Jojoy", "said the military officer.

What has been identified is that within the narcotics trade chain they are dedicated to the collection of the weight and taxes for the withdrawal of drugs from the territories they control.

To this we must add that their criminal income derives also from extractive activities and illegal abductions, a practice that they did not leave, even though it was one of the conditions imposed by the Duque government to continue the dialogues.

The smuggling of fuel across the Venezuelan border has also been detected as a source of income in recent months. Last October, La Patrona was arrested by the Fiscal and Customs Police, accused of having sold gas from the neighboring country and whose profits were sent to the structures of the "Pablito".

"Economically they are very good, this is undeniable," adds the source. In this way, arms are supplied entering the borders with Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela, in particular M16 rifles, airguns and machine guns that they obtain in the illegal market. "However, it is a group that avoids confrontation with the army. and engages in surprise attacks, such as Thursday.

Triad system

The attack form of ELN responds to a triad system, meaning three people are responsible for committing attacks. One is responsible for intelligence, another takes on logistics and the last, usually the most experienced, is what perpetrates the fact.

Above the triads are the commissions, made up of six members, followed by the teams, which are twelve people, and the topmost companies. These must refer to the guerrilla fronts and to the war fronts, which receive orders from the National Directorate, which includes 17 leaders.

In the countryside depend on the rural fronts and in the cities depend on the collectives, which in turn respond from the regional ones.

The guerrilla fronts are found in a specific region, such as "Domingo Laín", in Arauca; the "José David Suárez", in Casanare, and "Adonay Ardila Pinilla", in Boyacá. All the front of the eastern war.

The other war fronts are Occidental, which is present in Chocó; the northeastern offense in Catatumbo; the North, whose factions are in La Guajira and Cesar; the north-west which has units in Antioquia, limits with Chocó and part of the south of Bolivar; Oriental, in the so-called ABC, ie Arauca, Boyacá and Casanare, and in the southwest, Cauca, Valle del Cauca and Nariño.

Regarding this last c & # 39; is a special attention because they are occupying the spaces left by the FARC. "There are the crews Manuel Vásquez Castaño (Cauca) and Comuneros del Sur (Nariño) with ample attack capability.

The general command is responsible for the central command formed by Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista, aka "Gabino"; Eliécer Erlington Chamorro Acosta, aka "Antonio García"; Israel Ramírez Pineda, alias & # 39; Pablo Beltrán & # 39 ;; Gustavo Aníbal Giraldo, aka "Pablito", and Rafael Sierra Granados, aka "Ramiro Vargas".

On them weighs the red circular of Interpol. In his speech on Friday, President Duque reactivated the arrest warrants for ten negotiators in Havana.

Venezuela has been a hot topic in bilateral relations in order to provide shelter to those responsible for that organization. One of the recent events was the arrest in November of the Bolivarian National Guard of one of the leaders of the Eastern Front: Luis Fernando Ortega Bernal.

While the Colombian Foreign Ministry did not hesitate to qualify him as an ELN guerrilla, Vladimir Padrino, Venezuelan defense minister, called him "the leader of a vichada criminal gang".

Insight Crime Foundation published a report on the issue and stated that in the possession of the inmates there were several documents from the neighboring country, including the so-called "Carné de la patria" in the name of Gabriel Alfonso Ariza.

For this organization, the ELN operates up to 1500 kilometers from the Colombian border with Táchira and through the Venezuelan territory to the states bordering with Guyana and Brazil, such as Bolívar and Amazonas; and coastal areas such as Anzoátegui and Falcón. That is, they move without obstacles from the country that governs Nicolás Maduro.

Heads of Eln

& # 39;Gabino & # 39;

Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista is, at the age of 69, the highest commander of ELN. He was born in San Vicente de Chucurí (Santander) and since he was 14 he joined this illegal armed organization. It is also part of the central command of ELN, known as Coce.

& # 39; Antonio García & # 39;

Eliécer Herlinto Chamorro Acosta was born 63 years ago in Mocoa, Putumayo. He has participated in several attempts to put this guerrilla group on a dialogue table. Intelligence reports say it is hidden in Venezuela.

& # 39; Pablo Beltrán & # 39;

Israel Ramírez Pineda is a leading member of the central ELN command. He was born in San Gil, Santander, in December 1953 and since 2016 has been head of the ELN negotiation group in peace talks with Santos y Duque.

& # 39;Pablito & # 39;

Gustavo Aníbal Giraldo Quinchía is a member of the ELN Central Command and the highest authority of that organization on the Venezuelan border. He joined the illegal group in 1997, to Arauquita and is one of the opponents of negotiations with the government.

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