Friday, June 29, 2012

November 1985

November, 1985 was a cataclysmic month for Colombia: First came the M-19 guerrillas' attack on the Palace of Justice, which ended with the building in flames and more than 100 people dead. Then, a few weeks later, the eruption of the Nevado del Ruis volcano, which triggered disastrous flooding of Armero and other towns, killing some 23,000 people.  

Santa Marta-born artist Josefina Jacquin has portrayed that month in Andy Warhol-style works now on display in the Jorge Eliecer Gaitan house/museum in Teusaquillo, which commemorates the populist presidential candidate, who was assasinated in 1948. The events are also personal for Jacquin, who now lives in northern California: her brother Alfonso Jacquin was one of the M-19's leaders, and died during the palace attack and military counter-attack. His body has never been recovered. 

The artist's brother, Alfonso Jacquin, an M-19 guerrilla leader disappeared during the group's 1985 attack on the Palace of Justice. 

Colombia's then-Pres. Betancur. The guerrillas demanded that he come over to the Justice Palace to undergo a guerrilla trial, he refused and the military attacked.

A visitor takes a picture of a portrait of Pablo Escobar. The drug lord apparently helped finance the M-19's attack in order to destroy the documents in the Justice Palace.

Omayra Sanchez, a 13-year-old girl trapped by mudflows caused by the volcanic eruption. She agonized for 60 hours before dying, and her death came bo symbolize the government's failure to warn residents and its slow response.  
Part of the Gaitan house/museum. The complex has never been completed, in part due to a fight between Gaitan's daughter and the National University for control of the site. It may be used as a law school.
Jorge Eliecer Gaitan's home, now a museum. 
Gaitan's grave. He was buried standing up, in order to 'plant' his ideas. 
Admission to the museum is free.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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