Colombia   -    As night blankets a makeshift camp in the Colombian jungle, amid the rain tarps comes the dull gleam of automatic rifles, kept close at hand. Latin America’s last active rebels travel light and often. It’s how they survive.

Fighting a low-level war in the jungle, the National Liberation Army guerrillas remain a thorn in the side of Colombia’s conservative government, hampering Bogota’s campaign against rampant drug trafficking and preventing a wider peace.

“We’ve heard presidents and paramilitaries predict our defeat as a guerrilla force over the last 55 years and we are still active,” says the commander of the rebel’s “Western Front,” who goes by the name Uriel.  In a daytime training exercise, camouflaged rebels barely distinguishable from their surroundings show off their readiness to repel attacks to an AFP reporting team. Those attacks seem inevitable, given President Ivan Duque’s hard line against the ELN.

, sending his army to root it out from its jungle strongholds.

“The Colombian conflict is going to last. There will be a war for a while here,” Uriel told AFP.

“There is no political will on behalf of the Colombian state to put an end to this conflict without resorting to weapons.”

Since it was founded in 1964, the ELN has funded itself from kidnapping, drug trafficking and extortion -- or, as the ELN puts it, a “revolutionary tax” levied on the drug trade, which thrives on the thousands of hectares under plantation in this western Choco region.