Guerrilla fighters talk about the last unilateral ceasefire
Juan Carlos, Column Mariscal Sucre, Nariño Department:
Just after the unilateral ceasefire had been declared, enemy operatives, accompanied with deserters as guide for their patrols, intensified. They patrol the roads at night. During the day they hide in the jungle, to avoid being detected by civilians. While some patrol units advance, others are covering strategic positions in regions where they haven’t been before. For the last two nights, there were helicopter overflights at ten o’clock.
About the combats that we have had during the cease-fire: we have been avoiding the military operatives but lately we have been surrounded on all sides. On June 22, one of our commands was surprised at the camp where they spent the night. They could no longer evade combat; they had to fight to be able to get away. The next day they were attacked again and they had to respond again. On June 26, another patrol coming out of the jungle surprised a command that was on guard at a military outpost, they had to fight to be able to withdraw.This is what we talk about when we say it are acts of self-defense. We are clear of the order of the Secretariat, but we don’t have any other option.
Gustavo, Column Mariscal Sucre, Nariño Department:
Here, from June 28 the enemy started to reinforce all the towns with troops, and the Navy, with boats and combat boats accompanied by helicopters began to move across the rivers. On June 30, in the afternoon, a combat took place with a boat and 6 combat boats that were going up the Patía River. Helicopters arrived to support them and the boats went back.
From Leonel, Column Gabriel Galvis, Cauca:
The commander of the operation “Apollo” is reporting a hoax, saying that the Galvis column had placed a car bomb in Miranda. That is false. We don’t know who invented that.
From Joaco, South Block:
The news about the harassment of the 15th Front against the Police Station in Solano during unilateral truce declared by us, is an outright lie. It has never happened. During the first truce there were some combats indeed, but that was because once the Secretariat announced the unilateral truce, some patrols that were in some fixed access points and who hadn’t been moving, suddenly began to move towards places where some units of our Front were, in an open provocation. We confronted them and they stopped.
Román, 18th Front:
I do not know if these data can help to do something in Havana to denounce the National Army for the death of compañero Pino. It turns out he was captured alive and then killed. But before that, he was tortured. They left him like a fish: legs, arms, abdomen; they all looked as if they had been striped with a knife. Here we have the recording of the combat helicopters that prove he was captured alive. Besides, they stole jewels from his home and killed a dog.
Villa, 33th Front, Department of North Santander:
It is good to remember that our ceasefire not only allowed the elections without interruption, but it also allowed the soldiers to see the World Cup peacefully at their bases and homes, as well as the population. The government, eager to produce military victories, deployed an offensive that has killed and wounded many soldiers and which has disrupted the peace of the people in the area.The President and the military leadership enjoy the World Cup and make predictions; their subordinates walk through the jungle and sleep outdoors, exposed to the harsh terrain and weather, supposedly to respond to a guerrilla that is not even on the offense, but on defense.
Last modified on Sunday, 03 August 2014 23:10
The real focus of the discussion on victims
«At the peace talks in Havana, all our power lies in our ideas and the only weapon we have is the truth»
The issue of victims that will soon be discussed at the Peace Talks in Havana has generated a huge barrage against the FARC-EP in the mainstream press. Even those who strive to look neutral, warning that the responsibility of government officials involved in illegal conduct should also be taken into account, end up being part of the general chorus according to which we are the worst offenders.
Undoubtedly, one of their key viewpoints is that the responsibility of State agents always tends to be individualized – black sheep or scapegoats. Therefore, at the most, the State itself will be forced to respond patrimonially and perhaps constrained to apologize for omissions or errors, without any other legal or political consequences. Some money and a memory plaque will be enough to not change anything in Colombia.
From the side of the ruling class, of course. Because from the side of rebellion everything will be over forever then. Because almost everybody starts from the believe that in rebellion, there are no individual responsibilities. The responsibilities belong to the entire organization and for the sake of discussion to its commands or main leaders. They must personally face the victims, tell them the whole truth, apologize for their crimes and, with their heads down, accept the more or less generous sentence of the bereaved society.
«We know they will do everything in their power to silence us, to obscure the testimonies they feel uncomfortable with and to magnify anything useful to their purposes»
The whole Establishment is sure that we will be made mincemeat. They invite the public to come to the public squares right now and witness the spectacle of the worst enemies of the country being burned at the stake. So the issue is not easy for us; actually, it is another scenario of combat, as unequal and asymmetric as the one in the countryside of the country. At the peace talks in Havana, all our power lies in our ideas and the only weapon we have is the truth.
We know they will do everything in their power to silence us, to obscure the testimonies they feel uncomfortable with and to magnify anything useful to their purposes. But we feel motivated by the fact that this is not an innocuous debate between their word and ours; it is an exhibition of accomplished facts, a historical reconstruction of the origins and realities of the conflict, developed together with the Colombian people and from which we don’t have anything to be afraid of.
We are Colombian guerrilla fighters, active militants of a revolutionary organization that just celebrated fifty years of invincible struggle. We are proud of it and we don’t regret what we have done, not even for a moment. And we will never do so. Because we were born and grew up in this country that we love like we love our mothers, and which we have unfortunately seen covered in blood and persecution since our childhoods. That is what we’ve always fought against.
«Corrupt military commanders and police chiefs, always ready to put his troops at the service of the interests of such companies, such landowners, such political bosses and their own greed»
Powerful landowners always supported by hired gunmen to impose their will and banish landowners who coveted for them. Liberal and conservative political leaders, used to exercise absolute power over entire regions, willing to do anything to prevent the development of political alternatives. Wealthy businessmen, annoyed with the trade unions of their employees and paying for their elimination.
Reputed multinational companies bribing senior government officials to obtain the best conditions for plundering the country’s resources, convinced enemies of anything that resembled a struggle for dignified conditions by its workers. Corrupt military commanders and police chiefs, always ready to put his troops at the service of the interests of such companies, such landowners, such political bosses and their own greed.
The imperial power of the United States, defending its hegemony on the continent through interventions and military pacts, subjugated the Colombian military and police forces to its interests. Generals and troops, convinced that the opposition parties and movements, social and popular organizations and any other expression of discontent amounted to subversion at the service of the Soviet Union; that’s why they had to exterminate them all.
Constitutional precepts like the state of siege, or legal ones like the military justice applied to civilians, or of national defense that developed and authorized the creation of paramilitary groups in Colombia, under the direct leadership of military commanders. All this existed in our country, and still exists – in other forms- today, long before the first armed uprising against the state took place here.
«That’s why the miserable extermination of the Patriotic Union and much of the political and social opposition leaders in the country»
The undemocratic and exclusionary regime, characteristic of such a shameless confluence, which has always guaranteed growing wealth and privileges to an economic, political and military elite and was responsible for opening an amazing gap of social inequality, required violence and fed it until it reached frightening proportions. All this to prevent the creation of movements and political groups that could mean a serious competition to them.
That’s why the crime against Jorge Eliécer Gaitán and the slaughter of nearly half a million Colombians in the fifties, that’s why the absurd presence of the Army fighting in Korea, and its conversion, once it returned to the country, into mortal shock force against communism and any of their supposed allies, that’s why the declared war against Villarrica and later against the so-called independent republics of Marquetalia, Riochiquito and others.
That’s why the savage repression against rural areas, the gunmen against union and popular movement; that’s why the powerful drug cartels flourished, always supported by the most important political leaders of the country, to the point where today the discussion revolves around if the mafia co-opted the traditional political parties or if these co-opted the drug traffickers. That’s why the alliance between the big mafia bosses and senior military and police officers.
That’s why the miserable extermination of the Patriotic Union and much of the political and social opposition leaders in the country. That’s why the expansion of paramilitarism with its horrors, which today has been conveniently cast into oblivion, because it has been already sentenced by the courts and will be changed into a political movement soon. That’s why the appalling massacres, the bodies torn with chainsaws, thrown to the alligators, the “casas de pique“. That’s why there are more than six million of displaced and exiled people.
In order to fight against this regime of state terror that must stop, thousands of sons and daughters of this people sacrifice their lives in the countrysides and cities of Colombia. Thousands have gone to prison, thousands have been gone forever, devoured by torture and brutality. Thousands are invalid, mutilated, hidden forever from the bloodhounds of crime. Those are the Colombian guerrilla fighters that Santos and Uribe dream of taking to the public pillory.
Let’s hope they won’t shoot themselves in the foot.
Colombian jungle, July 26, 2014.
Casas de pique: These are houses in Buenaventura used by paramilitaries to torture people and tear them into pieces. “Pique” comes from the Spanish verb “picar“: to cut into pieces.
Last modified on Monday, 28 July 2014 16:27
The theoretical consistency and capacity of the FARC
By: Pablo Catatumbo – Member of the Secretariat of the FARC-EP
It’s remarkable to see how much media attention obtained the recent tour made by the French sociologist Daniel Pécaut – nationalized in Colombia -, around Colombian universities and newsrooms of newspapers and magazines. As if he were part of a rock band on tour, the academic in the last few months has piled up a record of unexpected public appearances, in a country in which social researchers are usually made invisible, killed or persecuted.
Most of his speeches refer to commonplaces: greet the peace process, hope that it will make speedy progress and throw insults (discrete, under an academic disguise), against the FARC-EP. This is not new; all the contrary, being anti-communist and anti-FARC are constant factors in his academic curriculum vitae.
In his classic work, Order and Violence (1930-1953), his overall posture is to foist the failures of the Liberal Republic and Gaitán’s project on the revolutionary left.
Subsequently, in Chronicle of two decades of Colombian politics, Pécaut presented the innovative thesis on the alleged transit of the FARC from apparatus of political negotiation subordinated to the Communist Party in the ’60s and ’70s, to autonomous military unit, linked to the mafia, in the ’80s. This view of the conflict would be endlessly expanded by some native experts on violence, like Gonzalo Sánchez- today at the Center for Historic Memory – and Eduardo Pizarro – co-opted by the right and now Colombia’s ambassador to the Netherlands -, who proved to be his most loyal followers.
«Surely for this scholar it would be really easy to resist the huge military onslaught dealt with by Alfonso during his last years of struggle»
For the sake of discussion and pluralism, one might understand the particular vision of Pécaut about our national tragedy, it would simply be his own personal political view. However, the publication of his infamous book The FARC: A guerrilla without end or without purpose? in 2008, at the most complex moment of the conflict, shows us that his work is not a mere coincidence at all. It is, along with Eduardo Mackenzie’s books, an obligatory reference for the Uribist intelligentsia and it is product of the rise of the neoconservatives to the command posts of the Colombian Academy. Pécaut is then revealed as the intellectual who is in charge of rewriting reality and establishing an institutional truth that is functional to the interests of the dominant class block.
Now, surely encouraged by the good times that his cited apprentices are having, Pécaut travels the country talking about the conflict and its political solution, probably looking for a protector at some institution with whom to crown his successful task. Therefore, he throws darts at comandante Alfonso Cano and at all our organization with the arrogance of a powerful academic, “Cano never dared to write theory. (…) Within the FARC there have never been theoretical disputes, which shows the existence of dogmatism, considering the very poor education they provide on Marxism-Leninism. This implies that no new ideas are being produced.”
Surely for this scholar it would be really easy to resist the huge military onslaught dealt with by Alfonso during his last years of struggle. Surely it would be easy for him to be “theoretical” in the midst of war. Surely he highly appreciates the eternal debates of the French “divine left”, held in cafes, about books written by Althusser and Foucault. But we are talking about Colombia, esteemed professor Pécaut, a reality of cluster bombs and false positives, rampant paramilitarism, massacres, forced disappearances by thousands, and targeted assassinations of social and popular leaders, as well as the most brutal criminalization of the social and popular movement. It is the longest armed conflict of the Western Hemisphere, the South American Vietnam.
«Now, someone who occupies a reactionary position within the university can hardly say anything about the alleged FARC’s disability to produce new ideas»
One ends up convinced of the fact that for people like Daniel Pecaut, the example of Alfonso Cano and the selfless dedication of thousands of FARC-EP fighters who have given their lives to achieve a new country, are just a few insignificant facts. But not for our people. Alfonso, who surely must have crossed the path of this academic at the National University, sacrificed a prosperous future of personal achievements in the academia to a collective cause. That implies a grandeur that seems incomprehensible to some kind of intellectuals. But for those who work for a better country, this is more than clear and it indicates that we are on the right track.
Now, someone who occupies a reactionary position within the university can hardly say anything about the alleged FARC’s disability to produce new ideas. Contrary to what you say, the FARC-EP does know about new ideas and proposals for a new country. That’s why we are at the peace talks in Havana, that’s why we build alternative power and that’s why so much money has to be spend by the establishment on buying journalists and professors to defend it, distort the truth and justify inequality and injustice.
«Just continue, keep on talking mate, while I’m working»
Pécaut intends to measure the theoretical consistency and capacity of the FARC. We’d like to challenge you instead: What was your position as a professor and intellectual during the last university crisis? What do you have to say to a brave student movement like the one we saw during the national strike in 2011? On whose side were you in those days?
With the progressive ideas for a free, quality education, or with the retrograde side, that sought to maintain a privatized education, only for the elite?
We welcome, professor Pécaut, any effort to reconcile the Colombian nation. But do not pretend that this can be done by trampling our history of rebellion and our revolutionary commitment.
You remind me, professor Pécaut, of a peasant from El Pato to whom, in my first years as a guerrilla fighter, I was trying to explain some things about Marxism-Leninism. The man sawed and sawed, without paying a lot of attention to me. When I scolded him for it, he said, “just continue, keep on talking mate, while I’m working.” This is what we should tell Professor Pécaut today: just continue, keep on talking professor, while we are trying to solve things and seek civilized solutions to this long and bloody war.
Last modified on Monday, 28 July 2014 12:15
FARC-EP rejects and condemns criminal attacks against Palestine
Havana, Cuba, July 24, 2014
Israel must stop its criminal attacks against Palestine
With deep feelings of solidarity and internationalism, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, People’s Army (FARC-EP) rejects and condemns the barbaric acts of terror, carried out in a systematic and sustained manner by the State of Israel against the Palestinian people. The most recent bombings and assaults have generated the deaths of over 600 people in Gaza and around 3000 wounded, including many children, women and elderly people.
The brutal air strikes and criminal ground operations should be suspended forthwith, and the disapproval of the nations of the world must be felt, not only against the Zionist State, but also against governments like the United States and Colombia who endorse and justify it. This infamy should stop; the aggression, occupation, assassinations and killing in general which have been unleashed on Palestinian territory should finish.
The FARC-EP rejects and condemns the widespread policy of terror against the Palestinian people and in particular the decisions and acts of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which has continued and deepened the expulsion of Palestinians from their ancestral lands, pretending to force them to recognize a Jewish state.
«The Palestinian response is a justified and legitimate reaction of defense and survival»
Besides the current evil occupation and dispossession of territories, it is clear that establishing a legal political framework under the definition of a Jewish state aims to establish a legal policy framework for ethnic and religious purging, and the final expulsion or annihilation through blockades, starvation, imprisonment, selective or mass murders, torture and infiltration of extremists that will justify further reprisals, occupation and deaths.
The zionism that is dominating Israel must stop its crimes against humanity unleashed on Gaza, and the zionist power and influence in America must also withdraw its support for the criminal acts that are bleeding Palestine to death. They are war crimes that deserve international disapproval. The Palestinian response is a justified and legitimate reaction of defense and survival.
We call on the democratic consciousness of the peoples of the world to repudiate and condemn today’s attacks and the continuing crimes suffered by this heroic people. We demand the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces, the release of political prisoners, the overthrow of the walls of division, the suspension of the blockade, a stop on the settlements and colonization that violate the borders agreed upon in 1967 and the cancellation of the intimidating military exercises. Guarantees should be provided for the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes.
Long live the resistance of the Palestinian people!
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
Last modified on Thursday, 24 July 2014 21:59
What ‘those from above’ expect from the victims
Written by Gabriel Angel
Paramilitarism doesn’t exist, nor do its crimes, nor does the connection of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, the DAS, the fearsome SIJIN and other secret security and intelligence agencies of the State to the national plan of extermination and dispossession, carried out in Colombia for at least thirty years. The Colombian government has washed its hands in innocence, the most brazen representatives of heinous crime have become very respectable people now.
They are senators of the Republic, ambassadors, successful entrepreneurs, retired Generals, lecturers at international forums, experts hired by foreign governments. They conform a dark network, embedded in each of the official institutions, in the mainstream media, in political movements and parties that dominate the country. They are decent people, world-class academics, representatives of virtue and unblemished morality.
The only actors and responsible for the political and social violence in Colombia are detestable guerrillas with whom the government of President Santos, in a gesture of incomprehensible generosity, is talking, in order to make them demobilize and disarm. As if we could expect anything good from people like that. As if in this country, there were still souls who are naive enough to believe in the good faith of these incarnations of Satan.
«the perpetrators are none other than the insurgents, those perverse Colombians, who with their armed uprising produced horror and death»
In this way, without a blush of shame, an unprecedented attack against the truth has been unleashed. The most prominent writers of the mainstream press do their best to express it in the most impressive manner. The highest government officials clear their throats a few seconds before launching their attack. The victims, nothing more sacred than the victims, will finally achieve their just demands, they will finally be face to face with their perpetrators.
Who are none other than the insurgents, those perverse Colombians, who with their armed uprising produced horror and death. How much evil could have been avoided to the country if the idea of rebelling against a democratic regime hadn’t existed in the heads of those wayward children. How much development, progress, welfare and tranquility for all would we have now. That’s what it is about, this is what we have to try urgently.
And in that commitment, all beneficiaries of the regime are engaged. And even worse: those without being a victim feel as if they were, and those who aspire to be one submissively join this delirious plot. The great coalition that led Santos to his reelection, excluding – just to be prudent- the most consequent sectors of the left and the great coalition that surrounded Zuluaga, absolutely agree on the same goal.
«Who remembers the paramilitary hordes invading the Catatumbo region, killing, burning, raping, torturing, displacing thousands and thousands of people on behalf of terror?»
This is about maintaining their prestige, their good name, their international respectability and that of the Colombian institutions. The ruling class agrees on the main aspect: the enemy against whom we must join forces without any hesitation. The obvious idea is to crush him completely, to show him as a disgusting pariah, impossible to get close to, for reasons of elemental moral hygiene.
After that, we have to thank them for the mercy of allowing us to do politics; of course, the few of us who are still unscathed after punishment and stigmatization. The long-prepared plan is ready to become an incontrovertible reality. The FARC are not like the Afghan Taliban, who, strangely enough, were never considered terrorists by the Empire. We are not like the AUC, either, who have just been excluded from this blacklist. Clearly we are much worse, that’s what they decided.
Who remembers the paramilitary hordes invading the Catatumbo region, killing, burning, raping, torturing, displacing thousands and thousands of people on behalf of terror? Who would be interested in investigating the continuous support of the armed forces and the political class of North Santander – and the whole country- to such a massacre? Maybe the star columnists who dared to compare Carlos Castaño with Simón Bolívar?
«Or the black communities of Alto Naya, persecuted and hunted as prey animals by the joint operations of paramilitary and regular troops, exiled and humiliated without the national authorities doing anything?»
Instead, the people who, under their leadership, were taken there to occupy the seized lands will count with all the media coverage. Because the guerrillas, after the unequal battle against Army and paramilitary united, entered afterwards to expel them and return the land to the rightful owners. Now, surrounded by the clear aura of victims, applauded by everybody, they are preparing to deeply move the country with the ruthless injustice committed against them.
Does anyone remember Peque, in Antioquia, completely besieged for months by paramilitary gangs, victims of daily killings, while military commanders declared to the press that life went on normally in the area? Or the black communities of Alto Naya, persecuted and hunted as prey animals by the joint operations of paramilitary and regular troops, exiled and humiliated without the national authorities doing anything?
We cannot even speak of dozens, there are hundreds and thousands of similar stories, which all together reach the number of six million of victims of such brutality. Now it turns out that none of this is true. The real victims who are ready to come out into the open are the paramilitaries and soldiers, maimed by mines laid in their path by the guerrillas to stop their insane progress against unarmed civilians.
«The gloomy School of the Americas, the National Security Doctrine and the continental preventive wars against communism are products of gruesome imaginations. Here, there hasn’t been the slightest excuse to invoke uprisings»
All children, exploited and injured in a thousand different ways by the unjust economic and social reality created by the ruling classes, who joined the guerrilla ranks to escape from the misery and violence unleashed against their families, captured one day after surviving violent bombings and operations of mass occupation, subject to blackmail and pressures of all kinds, will be the proof of forced recruitment and other insurgents vileness.
Because in Colombia, the persecution, death and terror unleashed for political or economic reasons by the highest spheres of the state, and inspired and promoted by North american interests has never existed. The gloomy School of the Americas, the National Security Doctrine and the continental preventive wars against communism are products of gruesome imaginations. Here, there hasn’t been the slightest excuse to invoke uprisings.
In Rwanda, people are commemorating twenty years of the gruesome racial killings, awarded to irrational hatred, and the country is presented as Africa’s model of foreign investment in mining and infrastructure, with a growing economy. Hutus and Tutsis survive in misery and with fear, while a handful of people celebrate economic success. It reminds me of Colombia, because it is obvious that the achievements of the transnational capitalist economy is based on the most heinous crimes against the people. The people can always be blamed for it, and what about it.
Colombian jungle, July 21, 2014.
On Colombian elections
During the last congressional and presidential elections in Colombia, mainstream media and international witnesses reported a smoothly running democratic contest, some kind of genuine “carnival of democracy”. For a foreign spectator, this fact would prove the existence of a real democratic regime in this South American country. But below the surface, a grim reality emerges.
The mechanisms for political activity in Colombia are tortuous and far from what democracy really means. This writing briefly tries to explain the different ways in which democratic activity is constrained.
Legal status, a luxury for a few.
To register a political party for the Colombian elections is nearly an odyssey. A particular group of citizens can do it, but only if they register their party for the congressional elections (national circumscription), excluding de facto local or regional parties. It must obtain at least 3% of the total votes for Congress’ upper house (the Senado de la República), if the party’s votation is inferior to that threshold, the electoral registration (personería jurídica) is denied. That’s how the political minorities (ethnical, religious, cultural and regional movements, as well as the left-wing parties) are completely banned from the political system.
In this way, during the last two congressional elections, at least four parties disappeared, leaving a restricted parliamentary system of five “big parties” (the traditional ones: Conservative and Liberal; and the “new ones”: National Unity, Radical Change and the Democratic Center of Álvaro Uribe), all within a narrow political spectrum of extreme-right policy, neoliberal economics and U.S. dependence.
Vote-buying: an old tradition.
Behind the image of a solid democracy, created by the local oligarchy, in Colombia remains a generalized situation of vote-buying, a phenomenon which might result hard to understand for foreign readers, not directly linked with Colombian reality.
Politicians buy votes for their own campaign on a regular basis, although for many people in the world the very idea is hard to believe. In popular suburbs and rural regions, caciques electorales (1) offer registered voters a certain amount of money if they vote for a specific candidate during the elections.
Using different mechanisms, from complicity with corrupt functionaries of the Electoral Registry to the use of mobile phones with in-build cameras and other electronic devices, the caciques electorales are able to verify the effective vote. Once they confirm that the citizen really voted for their candidate, they proceed with the payment.
Prizes? Usually 30 and 40 dollars for one vote, in the poorest communities. But, free market after all, in close elections, the prices increase. For instance, in the two rounds of the last presidential elections the amount of money for one vote ranged between 200 and 230 dollars.
The high rates of political clientelism.
Political clientelism is another old tradition, deeply rooted in the Colombian political culture. From the lowest level of local administration, to the national higher positions, political support is conditional to the distribution of public offices and contracts for public works or state investments. That’s how a local or regional elected politician, a congressman or the President himself define which people will occupy the most important charges of the nation, based on political favors.
With this hidden form of corruption, the State administration and the destiny of the nation are usurped. Now we can understand the worrying statistics on how people in Colombia perceive corruption (2).
The “mermelada”, Santos’ version of political clientelism.
President Juan Manuel Santos has taken traditional clientelism to new levels. In search of his reelection, he desperately distributed public charges within all the State institutions, with the goal of obtaining support of the regional caciques for his campaign. In Colombian slang, this practice became known as untar mermelada, spread marmalade.
The second round of the last presidential elections was a real marmalade carnival: distributing jobs in embassies, consulships, ministries, offices and agencies, and desperately buying votes with favors and contracts, Santos ensured his victory.
Armed force against the elector.
Besides the already mentioned deformations of democracy, in Colombia also exists a systematic practice of state terrorism, expressed in the elimination of political alternatives, different from traditional politicking. Since the banana workers massacre in 1928 (3), to the extermination of the legal leftist parties by the end of the XXth Century (political genocide of the Unión Patriótica (4), A Luchar (5) and Frente Popular (6), without omitting the extermination of the leaders of the opposition (Jorge Eliecer Gaitán (7), Jaime Pardo Leal (8), Bernardo Jaramillo (9), Carlos Pizarro (10), Luis Carlos Galán (11)); Colombian history has been marked by the denial of democratic participation to ordinary people.
(1) Cacique electoral is a political leader and an agent of political clientelism. The caciques manage a certain amount of votes in regions or social sectors.
(3) Massacre of the United Fruit Company workers in northern Colombia: December 6th, 1928, a significant number of striking workers were killed by the National Army.
(4) Unión Patriótica (Patriotic Union): political party founded by the FARC-EP during the peace process with the Betancur administration (1985). More than 5.000 militants were killed by state terrorism.
(5) A Luchar (Let’s Fight): political and social movement founded in the mid 1980’s. It was the expression of diverse sectors of trade unions, student movements and radical militants. Many of its cadres were killed or exiled.
(6) Frente Popular (Popular Front): political party promoted by the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Colombia and its People’s Liberation Army within the peace process of the Betancur administration. Many of its cadres were killed or exiled.
(7) Jorge Eliecer Gaitán (1903-1948): Popular leader of the Liberal Party. He was killed in downtown Bogotá on the 9th of April 1948. His death unleashed a people’s insurrection.
(8) Jaime Pardo Leal (1941-1987): Leader of the judge union and communist militant. Presidential candidate of the UP in the 1986 elections. He was killed in La Mesa on the 11th of October 1987.
(9) Bernardo Jaramillo (1955-1990): Communist leader, legal advisor of trade unions, and UP presidential candidate for the 1990 elections. He was killed at the Bogotá airport on the 22nd of March 1990.
(10) Carlos Pizarro (1951-1990): Political leader. Former comandante of the M-19 guerrilla; he led its demobilization and transformation into a legal political party: Alternativa Democrática M-19. He was killed on the 26th of April, 1990, during a flight, being the presidential candidate of AD M-19.
(11) Luis Carlos Galán (1943-1989): Political leader of the Liberal Party. He led the movement Nuevo Liberalismo, the renovation tendency of the party. He was the most optionated presidential candidate for the 1990 elections, but in the middle of the campaign he was killed in Bogotá, on August 19th, 1989.