After over three years of a standstill, the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) have renewed peace talks in Caracas. Venezuela, Cuba and Norway have acted as facilitators of this dialogue. Talks with the ELN, a left-wing rebel group, and the last to remain active in the country, were suspended in 2019 after an attack against a police academy killed 22 police cadets. In early December, after a first round of talks, Colombian president Gustavo Petro announced that, while a ceasefire had not been reached, dialogue had been successful. An agreement between both sides will allow Indigenous Peoples displaced from western regions of the country to return to their homes, as well as the implementation of emergency care in regions most affected by violence, starting in January.
On 7 August Gustavo Petro took office as President of Colombia, being the first politician from the centre-left to become elected. In his inaugural addresses, he has pledged to decrease poverty, promote unity and address the economic issues that have exacerbated inequality. He has also indicated a considerable shift in policy regarding Colombia’s relationship with Venezuela and, notably, the ‘war on drugs’. Petro has stated he is considering decriminalizing cocaine, and would seek partnerships with other countries in the region to shift the strategy against drugs, while other members of his cabinet have watered down such remarks.