Friday, April 27, 2012

Bogotá's Bloody Political History

Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the populist presidential candidate assassinated in 1948, triggering the Bogotazo riots. 
For a grim tour of Bogotá, visit the local government building on the corner of Carrera 3 and Calle 12b in La Candelaria. In commemoration of the Month of the Victims of human rights violations, they've set up an exhibition about the many assassinations which have marked and often altered the history of Bogotá's and Colombia.

Sadly, Colombia has experienced so many assassinations that their memorial could fill a much larger plaza.

A woman contemplates a map of Bogotá showing where political assassinations happened.
Jaime Pardo Leal, presidential candidate of the far-left Union Patriota party, assassinated by right-wing forces in 1987. The U.P. party had links to the FARC guerrillas, but the exact relationship is still disputed. The killings of thousands of U.P. members is known as the 'genocide of the Union Patriota.'

Bernardo Jaramillo, Union Patriota presidential candidate assassinated by paramilitaries in Bogotá's airport in 1990. That campaign saw four candidates assassinated. 

Carlos Pizarro, the M-19 guerrillas' presidential candidate, assassinated in  1990.

The displaced, Colombia's most numerous and least visible victims. 

Twelve regional congressional representatives from El Valle del Cauca were kidnapped by the FARC guerrillas in 2002 and 11 of them murdered by the guerrillas in 2007.

Young men from Soacha, in South Bogotá, murdered in the 'Falsos Positivos' scandal, in which military units kidnapped and killed young men, then disguised them as guerrillas in order to earn bonuses. 

Presidential Candidate Luis Carlos Galan, assassinated in 1989 in South Bogotá by Pablo Escobar and others. 

Carlos Ernesto Valencia, the judge investigating the assassination of El Espectador newspaper publisher Guillermo Cano, was assassinated in downtown Bogotá in 1989 by Pablo Escobar. Cano had himself been assassinated by Escobar, who would also go on to kill the prosecutor who replaced Valencia.

The National University, whose campus has been the scene of radical leftist politics, and some of whose students have become martyrs. 

Relatives of kidnapped police, soldiers and politicians, who demonstrate every month on the Plaza Bolivar demanding that the government negotiate with the FARC guerrillas and exchange imprisoned guerrillas for guerrilla hostages. Will they continue demonstrating now that the guerrillas have freed what they say are their last political hostages?

Policarpa Salvatierra, a seamstress who spied on the Spanish during the revolution, was captured and executed. When someone offers you a pola, or a beer, they're using her nickname.

Rafael Uribe Uribe, a legendary Liberal Party leader in both peace and war assassinated in Bogotá in 1914. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Carlito said...

Near where Policarpa (la Pola) was executed is now Los Andes University but earlier there was a brewery (Germania, in honour to the german roots of beer an the actual name of the neighborhood).
Also, Bavaria in 1910 created La Pola, a beer honouring the 100th year of independence, hence the association between Pola and Beer that's still in use.

Miguel said...

The strange thing is that there are signs saying 'Policarpa was executed here' on both Plaza Bolivar and the Plaza de los Martires.

Thanks for the info about Germania. I've always wondered about the origin of that name.