|Flowers on dictator Gustavo Rojas Pinilla's tomb in Bogotá's Central Cemetery.|
|Grl Gustavo Rojas Pinilla.|
In 1963, Colombia was hemorraging from La Violencia, a vicious fratricidal war between Liberal and Conservative guerrilla armies. The far-right President Laureano Gómez was too sick to govern. Colombians called for a strong hand to stabilize and pacifize the country.
|A memorial on Ave. Septima to the university |
students massacred by Rojas Pinilla's
|The Justice Palace in flames following the |
1985 M-19 guerrilla attack.
But it was apparently the resurgence of La Violencia which finally turned public opinion and political party leaders against Rojas, forcing him out of power and into exile.
He was replaced by a military junta which oversaw the transition to a quasi democracy (for 15 years the Liberal and Conservative parties simply passed the presidency back and forth).
|A plaque in Bogotá's City Hall denouncing |
the attack by 'subversives' on the Justice Palace.
|The Justice Palace on Plaza Bolívar in Bogotá was|
destroyed in a 1985 M-19 guerrilla attack and
rebuilt about the year 2000.
|A plaque in Bogotá's City Hall memorializes |
people disappeared during the Justice Palace
Today, some of the ex-M-19 leaders are in Congress, and one, Gustavo Petro, is mayor of Bogotá.
Rojas' legacy has also persisted in more destructive ways. His grandson, Samuel Moreno Rojas, was mayor of Bogotá from 2008 to 2011, and allegedly stuffed his pockets in a huge corruption scheme. Now, Samuel and his brother Ivan, a senator, are in prison awaiting trial. They claim to be innocent.
Ironically, Samuel Moreno is accused of taking kickbacks on contracts for work on Ave. 26 - which his grandfather had constructed.
And Rojas' legacy probably isn't over.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours