Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The National University: An Open-Air Canvas

Latin American leftist icons cover a wall near what students have named 'Lenin Plaza'

There's always something going on at Bogotá's National University, fondly known as La Nacho, and it's usually colorful and very leftist.

The university is known for its political activism and colorful graffiti - which is constantly changing. Today, we saw examples of both things. Medical students on la Plaza del Ché were taking direct action by building themselves a hospital out of cardboard. And the campus's graffiti was particularly radical, thanks to painting done during recent protests by students and teachers.

Lots of the murals defend and celebrate Colombia's leftist guerrillas, who have waged a half-century-long war to overthrow Colombia's government and replace it with a Marxist state. The guerrillas finance themselves thru extortion and narcotrafficking and have committed countless human rights violations, including kidnapping, planting land mines, recruiting children and driving peasants from their farms. But there's a saying here:

'If you're under 30 and not a communist, you don't have a heart; if you're over 30 and still a communist, then you don't have a brain.'

A student reads political information hung along a campus walkway. 

Riot police yell: 'He's got a book! He's got a book!'

Freedom for political prisoners

The always-changing, but still changing, portrait of guerrilla priest Camilo Torres, on La Plaza del Ché. Torres, a leftist idealist, was the university chaplain but ran off to join the ELN guerrillas and was killed in his first battle, creating a martyr.

'We are not painted on the wall.' Sure about that?

Cycllists with Bogotá Bike Tours with their hero Che Guevara.

'...silence is oppresion and violence.'

Overthrow the Neoliberal Education Model.

Jaime Garzon, a radio satirist assassinated in 1999 by paramilitaries. 
'Sow rebellion, reap liberty.'

Che Guevara, another portrait which is never erased.
A poster celebrates leaders of the FARC guerrila group - who have caused untold suffering to Colombia. I guess  that many of us were once young and blinded by romantic idealism.

A satire on Pres. Manuel Santos, whose surname means 'Saints.'  'I don't believe in saints, nor in his law of higher education.'

Solidarity with students protesting in Chile. 
'Freedom for Simon Trinidad.' Trinidad was a leader of the FARC guerrillas now imprisoned in the United States.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours, which offers graffiti bike tours.

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