The Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional
Marxist insurgent group formed in 1965 by urban
intellectuals inspired by Fidel Castro and Che
Guevara. Began a dialogue with Colombian officials
in 1999 following a campaign of mass kidnappings--each
involving at least one US citizen--to demonstrate
its strength and continuing viability and to force
the Pastrana administration to negotiate. Bogota
and the ELN spent most of 2000 discussing where
to establish an ELN safehaven in which to hold
peace talks. A proposed location in north central
Colombia faces stiff local and paramilitary opposition.
Kidnapping, hijacking, bombing, extortion, and
guerrilla war. Modest conventional military capability.
Annually conducts hundreds of kidnappings for
ransom, often targeting foreign employees of large
corporations, especially in the petroleum industry.
Frequently assaults energy infrastructure and
has inflicted major damage on pipelines and the
electric distribution network.
Approximately 3,000 to 6,000 armed combatants
and an unknown number of active supporters.
Location/Area of Operation
Mostly in rural and mountainous areas of north,
northeast, and southwest Colombia and Venezuela
Cuba provides some medical care and political