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News > Colombia

Colombia: Petro Appoints Ex M-19 Guerrilla as Peace Negotiator

  • Vera Grabe.

    Vera Grabe. | Photo: X/ @OMejiaQuintana

Published 12 December 2023

Vera Grabe co-founded the guerrilla organization to which President Gustavo Petro belonged.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro appointed the anthropologist and former guerrilla of the April 19 Movement (M-19) Vera Grabe as the new chief negotiator of the Colombian Government with the National Liberation Army (ELN).


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Otty Patiño, who was leading the Colombian state's negotiating team, was appointed as the new high commissioner for Peace last week. Grabe will be in charge of carrying out the fifth cycle of negotiations between Colombia and the ELN that takes place in Mexico.

Known for her fight for justice, the anthropologist co-founded the M19, the guerrilla organization to which Petro belonged, in 1974. Grabe will have the task of leading dialogues that were resumed by the Petro administration a year ago. 

At the end of November, the Colombian state's delegation announced that representatives of both teams would meet to dedicate their efforts to overcoming the crisis that the dialogue process is currently going through due to the kidnapping of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz's father, who spent 12 days in the hands of the ELN.

In that sense, the ELN stated that the negotiation process is experiencing a critical moment, which "impacts the implementation of the agreements partially signed so far, as well as the development of the negotiating agenda."

After the M-19 signed a peace agreement in 1990, Vera Grabe became the first ex-guerrilla to win a seat in the House of Representatives. She was later a senator for the period 1991-1994, and was characterized by leading pioneering initiatives in defense of women. From politics she moved to diplomacy, as an attaché at the embassy in Spain and then to the university.

In recent years she has been focused on working for justice from the Peace Observatory and teaching at the Surcolombiana University, where she teaches the Pedagogy and Culture of Peace chair.


Vera Grabe
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