Sunday, December 8, 2013

Enough Already!

Relatives displace 'proof of life' photographs of their sons, brothers and husbands kidnapped by the FARC guerrillas. The FARC recently promised to give up kidnapping.
The Claustro San Agustin has this haunting and horrifying exhibition, entitled 'Enough Already!' (¡Basta Ya!), about the horrors of Colombia's more than half century of internal armed conflicts. A dead, nameless man, seemingly crucified on a pole; corpses laid out on the ground in front of grieving townspeople; funeral after funeral; torched homes; columns of guerrillas...Such scenes have been repeated innumerable times in Colombia's recent history.
A victim of fighting between police/military
and paramilitary militias in the
Communa 13 of Medellin, 2002.
However, with the ongoing government-FARC negotiations in Havana, Cuba, that long nightmare may be near an end - or at least a new chapter. (The FARC added yet another episode yesterday by firing a homemade mortar into a police-military base in the town of Inza, Cauca Department, killing five soldiers, a police officer and two civilians, and wounding dozens more people.)

But, even if a peace deal results, many of the forces which have caused Colombia's violence will remain: poverty, large ungoverned regions and huge sources of illicit money, mostly from the drug trade.

'They killed my wife.'

Union Patriotica party members mourn assassinated presidential candidate Jaime Pardo Leal, on Plaza Bolívar in 1987.
Five people were massacred by the military and rightist paramilitaries in 2005 in San Jose de Apartado.

The ELN guerrillas staged their first attack in 1965, on the town of Simacota, Santander.
Enough Already!

Enough Already!
In 2002, residents mourn some 119 civilians were killed when a home-made FARC mortar landed on the roof of the church, where townspeople had taken refuge during a battle between guerillas and paramilitaries. 
'El Cristo Campesino', 'The Campesino Christ', an emblematic photo of a victim of  El Violencia,1946-53.
Paramilitaies murdered 15 residents and burned their homes in El Aro, Antioquia, 1997.
'A Thousand Proposals for No-Repetition.'

FARC guerrilla leaders in Caguan, at the start of failed peace negotiations in El Caguan. 

Funeral of a city councilman murdered by the FARC in Huila, 2006.
Leftist politician leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, who was shot on a central Bogotá street in 1948,  triggering the Bogotazo riots.

Arhuaco indigenous people contemplate the body of one of their people, apparently killed by right-wing paramilitaries (2004). 

In 1990, the M19 guerrillas demobilize, hand over their weapons and become a political party. (Bogotá's current mayor, Gustavo Petro, is an ex-M19 leader.)
M19 guerrilla leaders sign a cease-fire agreement with the government in 1984.
Fonseca guerrillas during a 1953 government amnesty.
'You can be another victim of Sangre Negra (Black Blood) and his gang.' Sangre negra was a greatly feared bandolero  or highway robber of the late 1950s and early '60s.  
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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