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Carlos Velandia, the former ELN commander who bets on peace

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Carlos Velandia, the former ELN commander who bets on peace

The truth is that you are not wrong. The current leaders of the ELN, Antonio García and Pablo Beltrán were students at the Industrial University of Santander, where Carlos Velandia came to study just a few semesters of medicine (knowledge that later served him in the mountains) and where he personally met García.

“We met Antonio very young, precisely at the University. He was a very reserved, serious young man. He has a character that he still retains, he is very sparing, but also very clear, direct, very committed to the causes of the transformation of society and to the revolution. Obviously I met him as a boy, just like me, there was more joviality, we were more adventurous, seasoned and we were good companions and organization comrades in conspiracy activity,” Velandia described.

Times that he remembers with a marked “social effervescence” that had a special impact on the young people of the time.. From that moment, reminiscences of marches against the gas shortage emerge, the non-existence of legal means to generate political changes and even compares itself with today’s First Line, since it was constantly stoned, strikes, closure of halls, mobilizations and shouting through a megaphone “the slogans of the time”. Although there was a decisive factor to go to the guerrilla.

The exclusion was decisive. The fact that an idea other than being liberal did not fit, in politics it was to be liberal or to be conservative. The other thing is that for that reason, because they were liberal or conservative, they killed each other, but later they allied and did not let anyone in. So they killed the one who was different, they killed the communist, the socialist, the agnostic, the atheist and they simply killed the one who did not belong to that alliance”, he mentioned.

Reconstruction of the ELN after Anorí

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