|Tables and photos on Plaza Bolivar today memorialize murdered members of the Union Patriotica political party.|
Supporters of the Union Patriotica political party held a memorial on Plaza Bolivar today honoring the 3,000 to 5,000 members of the party who were assassinated in the late 1980s and early '90s in what is remembered as the 'genocide of the Union Patriotica.'
The U.P., founded in 1985, was linked to the FARC, and many saw it as the guerrillas' tentative effort to integrate into Colombia's political system. The killings, carried out by right-wing paramilitaries support by the regular Colombian military, ended that initiative.
The U.P. killings carry a special resonance today as the FARC guerrillas demobilize and integrate into society. Although the paramilitary groups formally demobilized in the mid-2000s, many people claim they continue operating in remote parts of Colombia.
Ironically, the FARC carried out their own political 'genocide' in the early 1990s against demobilized members of another leftist guerrilla group, the Ejercito Popular de Liberacion, EPL, who had formed a political party. In the best Stalinist fashion, the FARC called them traitors to the guerrilla movement and proceeded to murder about 200 ex-EPL members.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours