|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
2,900 soldiers and 1,800 police officers dead (1948–57)3,000–5,000 conservative paramilitaries dead
|15,000 rebels dead (1948–58)|
|170,000 civilians killed (1947–60)|
|Presidents of Colombia|
Part of a series on the
|History of Colombia|
La Violencia (Spanish pronunciation: [la βjoˈlensja] , The Violence) was a ten-year civil war in Colombia from 1948 to 1958, between the Colombian Conservative Party and the Colombian Liberal Party, fought mainly in the countryside.
A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or to change government policies. The term is a calque of the Latin bellum civile which was used to refer to the various civil wars of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC.
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a sovereign state largely situated in the northwest of South America, with territories in Central America. Colombia shares a border to the northwest with Panama, to the east with Venezuela and Brazil and to the south with Ecuador and Peru. It shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Colombia is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments, with the capital in Bogotá.
The Colombian Conservative Party is a conservative political party in Colombia. The party was formally established in 1849 by Mariano Ospina Rodríguez and José Eusebio Caro.
La Violencia is considered[ by whom? ] to have begun with the 9 April 1948 assassination of the popular politician Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a Liberal Party presidential candidate for the election in November 1949. His murder provoked the Bogotazo rioting that lasted for ten hours and killed some 5,000 people. An alternative historiography[ by whom? ] proposes as the start the Conservatives' return to power following the election of 1946. Rural town police and political leaders encouraged Conservative-supporting peasants to seize the agricultural lands of Liberal-supporting peasants, which provoked peasant-to-peasant violence throughout Colombia.
Assassination is the act of killing a prominent person for either political, religious or monetary reasons.
Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala was a politician, a leader of a socialist movement in Colombia, a former Education Minister (1940) and Labor Minister (1943–1944), mayor of Bogotá (1936) and one of the most charismatic leaders of the Liberal Party. He was assassinated during his second presidential campaign in 1948, setting off the Bogotazo and leading to a violent period of political unrest in Colombian history known as La Violencia.
El Bogotazo refers to the massive riots that followed the assassination in Bogotá, Colombia of Liberal leader and presidential candidate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on 9 April 1948 during the government of President Mariano Ospina Pérez. The 10-hour riot left much of downtown Bogotá destroyed. The aftershock of Gaitan's murder continued extending through the countryside and escalated a period of violence which had begun eighteen years before, in 1930, and was triggered by the fall of the conservative party from government and the rise of the liberals. The 1946 presidential elections brought the downfall of the liberals allowing conservative Mariano Ospina Pérez to win the presidency. The struggle for power between both again triggered a period in the history of Colombia known as La Violencia that lasted until approximately 1958, from which the civil conflict that continues to this day grew.
La Violencia is estimated to have cost the lives of at least 200,000 people.
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La Violencia took place between the paramilitary forces of the Colombian Liberal Party and the Colombian Conservative Party, which organized as armed self-defense groups and as guerrilla military units. Both also fought against the paramilitary forces of the Colombian Communist Party (PCC).
A paramilitary is a semi-militarized force whose organizational structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but which is formally not part of a government's armed forces.
The Colombian Liberal Party is a centrist and social liberal political party in Colombia. It was founded as a classical liberal party but later developed a more social-democratic tradition, joining the Socialist International in 1999.
The Colombian Communist Party or PCC is a legal communist party in Colombia. It was founded in 1930 as the Communist Party of Colombia, at which point it was the Colombian section of the Comintern, and changed its name in 1991. The party is currently led by Jaime Caycedo and publishes a weekly newspaper called Voz.
The conflict caused millions of people to abandon their homes and property. Media and news services failed to cover events accurately for fear of revenge attacks. The lack of public order and civil authority prevented victims from laying charges against perpetrators. Documented evidence from these years is rare and fragmented.[ citation needed ]
Civil authority or civilian authority, also known as civilian government, is the practical implementation of a State, other than its military units, that enforces law and order. It is also used to distinguish between religious authority and secular authority. The enforcement of law and order is typically the role of the police in modern states.
The majority of the population at the time was Catholic. During the conflict there were press reports that Catholic Church authorities supported the Conservative Party. Several priests were accused of openly encouraging the murder of the political opposition during Catholic mass, including the Santa Rosa de Osos Bishop Miguel Ángel Builes, although this is unproven. No formal charges were ever presented and no official statements were made by the Holy See or the Board of Bishops. These events were recounted in the 1950 book Lo que el cielo no perdona ("What heaven doesn't forgive"), written by the secretary to Builes, Father Fidel Blandon Berrio. [ why? ][ citation needed ]Eduardo Caballero Calderón also recounted these events in his 1952 book El Cristo de Espaldas ("Backwards Christ"). After releasing his book, Blandon resigned from his position and assumed a false identity as Antonio Gutiérrez. However, he was eventually identified and legally charged and prosecuted for libel.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
Mass is the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Catholic Church and Anglican churches, as well as some Lutheran churches, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox and Old Catholic churches.
Santa Rosa de Osos is a middle city and municipality of Colombia located in the northern of the department of Antioquia. Bounded on the north with the municipalities of Yarumal and Angostura, on the east with Guadalupe and Carolina del Principe, on the south with the municipalities of Donmatías, San Pedro de los Milagros and Entrerríos, and on the west with Belmira and San José de la Montaña.
As a result of La Violencia there were no liberal candidates for the presidency, congress, or any public corporations in the 1950 elections. The press accused the government of pogroms against the opposition. Censorship and reprisals were common against journalists, writers, and directors of news services. In consequence many media figures left the country. Jorge Zalamea, director of Critica magazine, fled to Buenos Aires; Luis Vidales to Chile; Antonio Garcia to La Paz, and Gerardo Molina to Paris.[ citation needed ]
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Most of the armed groups (called guerrillas liberales, a pejorative term) were demobilized during the amnesty declared by General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla after he took power on 13 June 1953. The most prominent Guerrilla leaders, Guadalupe Salcedo and Juan de la Cruz Varela, signed the 1953 agreement.
Some of the guerrileros did not surrender to the government and organized into criminal bands or bandoleros, which caused intense military operations against them in 1954. One of them, the guerrillero leader Tirofijo, had changed his political and ideological inclinations from being a Liberal to supporting the Communists during this period, and eventually he became the founder of the communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC.
Rojas was removed from power on 10 May 1957. Civilian rule was restored after moderate Conservatives and Liberals, with the support of dissident sectors of the military, agreed to unite under a bipartisan coalition known as the National Front and the government of Alberto Lleras Camargo and which included a system of alternating the president and power-sharing both in cabinets and public offices.
In 1958, Lleras Camargo ordered the creation of the Commission for the Investigation of the Causes of "La Violencia". The commission was headed by the Bishop Germán Guzmán Campos.
The last bandolero leaders were killed in combat against the army. Jacinto Cruz Usma, alias Sangrenegra (Blackblood), died in April 1964 and Efraín Gonzáles in June 1965.
Due to incomplete or non-existent statistical records, exact measurement of La Violencia's humanitarian consequences is impossible. Scholars, however, estimate that between 200,000 and 300,000 lives were lost; 600,000 to 800,000 were injured; and almost one million people were displaced. La Violencia directly or indirectly affected 20 percent of the population.
La Violencia did not acquire its name simply because of the number of people it affected; it was the manner in which most of the killings, maimings, and dismemberings were done. Certain death and torture techniques became so commonplace that they were given names—for example, picar para tamal, which involved slowly cutting up a living person's body; or bocachiquiar, where hundreds of small punctures were made until the victim slowly bled to death. Former Senior Director of International Economic Affairs for the United States National Security Council and current President of the Institute for Global Economic Growth, Norman A. Bailey describes the atrocities succinctly: "Ingenious forms of quartering and beheading were invented and given such names as the 'corte de mica', 'corte de corbata' (aka Colombian necktie), and so on. Crucifixions and hangings were commonplace, political 'prisoners' were thrown from airplanes in flight, infants were bayoneted, schoolgirls, some as young as eight years old, were raped en masse, unborn infants were removed by crude Caesarian section and replaced by roosters, ears were cut off, scalps removed, and so on."While scholars, historians, and analysts have all debated the source of this era of unrest, they have yet to formulate a widely accepted explanation for why it escalated to the notable level it did.
The death of the bandoleros and the end of the mobs was not the end of all the violence in Colombia. One communist guerrilla movement, the Peasant Student Workers Movement, started its operations in 1959.Later, other organizations such as the FARC and the National Liberation Army emerged, marking the beginning of a guerrilla insurgency.
From the point of view of members of the FARC and the PCC, the Liberal and Conservative elites, though they had instigated the original violence, soon grew to fear the consequences of it and thus formed a loose alliance to preserve their shared desire for political hegemony from possible revolutionary challenges.[ citation needed ]
As was common of 20th-century eliminationist political violence, the rationales for action immediately before La Violencia were founded on conspiracy theories, each of which blamed the other side as traitors beholden to international cabals. The left were painted as participants in a global Judeo-Masonic conspiracy against Christianity, and the right were painted as agents of a Nazi-Falangist plot against democracy and progress.
After the death of Gaitán, a conspiracy theory circulating among the left, that leading conservatives and militant priests were involved in a plot with Nazis and Falangists to take control of the country and undo the country's moves toward progress, spurred the violence.This conspiracy theory supplied the rationale for Liberal Party radicals to engage in violence, notably the anti-clerical attacks and killings, particularly in the early years of La Violencia. Some propaganda leaflets circulating in Medellín blamed a favorite of anti-Catholic conspiracy theorists, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), for the murder of Gaitán.
Across the country, militants attacked churches, convents, and monasteries, killing priests and looking for arms, since the conspiracy theory maintained that the religious had guns, and this despite the fact that not a single serviceable weapon was located in the raids.One priest, Pedro María Ramírez Ramos, was slaughtered with machetes and hauled through the street behind a truck, despite the fact that the militants had previously searched the church grounds and found no weapons.
Despite the conspiracy theories and propaganda after Gaitán's killing, most on the left learned from their errors in the rioting on 9 April, and stopped believing that priests had harbored weapons.
The claims by both camps of the existence of some sort of conspiracy made the political environment toxic, increasing the animosity and suspicion of both parties.
Conservatives likewise had been motivated to fight against a supposed international Judeo-Masonic conspiracy by eliminating the Liberals in their midst.In the two decades prior to La Violencia, Conservative politicians and churchmen adopted from Europe the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy theory to portray the Liberal Party as involved in an international anti-Christian plot, with many prominent Liberal politicians actually being Freemasons.
Although the rhetoric of conspiracy was in large part introduced and circulated by some of the clergy, as well as by Conservative politicians, by 1942 many clerics were critical of the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy theory. Jesuits outside of Colombia had already questioned and published disputes of the authenticity of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion , pushing the concept of a global Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. Colombian clergy were also increasingly influenced in this matter by U.S. clergy; and Pius XI had asked U.S. Jesuit John LaFarge, Jr. to draft an encyclical against anti-Semitism and racism.Allegations of a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy played most prominently in the politics of Laureano Gómez, who directed the Colombian Conservative Party from 1932 to 1953. More provincial politicians followed suit, and the fact that prominent national and local politicians were voicing this conspiracy theory, rather than just a portion of the clergy, gave the idea greater credibility while it gathered momentum among the party members.
The atrocities that had happened at the outset of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 were seen by both sides as a possible precedent for Colombia, causing both sides to fear it could happen in their country; this also spurred the credibility of the conspiracies and the rationale for violence.Catholics everywhere were shocked by the wave of anticlerical violence in the Republican zones in Spain in the first months of that war where anarchists, socialists and communists burned churches and murdered nearly 7,000 priests, monks, and nuns.
Azcarate quotes a figure of 300,000 dead between 1948–1959...[ page needed ]
Political violence is not new to that South American nation of 38 million people. In the past 100 years, more than 500,000 Colombians have died in it. From the 'War of the Thousand Days,' a civil war at the turn of the century that left 100,000 dead, to a partisan clash between 1948 and 1966 that claimed nearly 300,000...
On April 9, 1948, Gaitán was assassinated outside his law offices, in downtown Bogotá. The assassination marked the start of a decade of bloodshed, called La Violencia (The Violence), which took the lives of an estimated 180,000 Colombians before it subsided in 1958.
The history of Colombia includes the settlements and society by indigenous peoples, most notably, the Muisca Confederation, Quimbaya Civilization, and Tairona Chiefdoms; the Spanish arrived in 1499 and initiated a period of conquest and colonization, most noteworthy being Spanish conquest of the Muisca; ultimately creating the Viceroyalty of New Granada, with its capital at Bogotá. Independence from Spain was won in 1819, but by 1830 the "Gran Colombia" Federation was dissolved. What is now Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903. Since the 1960s, the country has suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict, which escalated in the 1990s, but then decreased from 2005 onward. The legacy of Colombia's history has resulted in one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world giving rise to a rich cultural heritage; while varied geography, and the imposing landscape of the country has resulted in the development of very strong regional identities.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People's Army was a guerrilla movement involved in the continuing Colombian armed conflict from 1964 to 2017. It was known to employ a variety of military tactics in addition to more unconventional methods, including terrorism. The FARC–EP was formed during the Cold War period as a Marxist–Leninist peasant force promoting a political line of agrarianism and anti-imperialism.
Anti-clericalism is opposition to religious authority, typically in social or political matters. Historical anti-clericalism has mainly been opposed to the influence of Roman Catholicism. Anti-clericalism is related to secularism, which seeks to remove the church from all aspects of public and political life, and its involvement in the everyday life of the citizen.
Pedro Antonio Marín Marín, known by his "nom de guerre" Manuel Marulanda Vélez, was the main leader of the Communist FARC-EP. Marulanda was born in a coffee-growing region of west-central Colombia in the Quindío Department, to a peasant family politically aligned with the Liberal Party during conflicts in the 1940s and 1950s.
The Patriotic Union or UP is a leftist Colombian political party. It was founded by the FARC and the Colombian Communist Party in 1985, as part of the peace negotiations that the guerrillas held with the Conservative Belisario Betancur administration. The party was subject to political violence from drug lords, paramilitaries and security forces agents during the mid-1980s, leading to its eventual decline, virtual disappearance and extermination.
The Colombian conflict began in the mid-1960s and is a low-intensity asymmetric war between Colombian governments, paramilitary groups, crime syndicates and far-left guerrillas such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the National Liberation Army (ELN), fighting each other to increase their influence in Colombian territory. Two of the most important international actors that have contributed to the Colombian conflict are multinational companies and the United States.
"Marquetalia Republic" was an unofficial term used to refer to one of the enclaves in rural Colombia which communist peasant guerrillas held during the aftermath of "La Violencia". Congressmen of the Colombian Conservative Party described these enclaves, including Marquetalia, as "independent republics" which needed to be brought under state control through military force. This area was eventually overrun by the National Army of Colombia in May 1964.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC–EP) is a Marxist–Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization based in Colombia, which is involved in the ongoing Colombian armed conflict.
The history of communism in Colombia goes back as far as the 1920s and has its roots in the idealism of the Russian October Revolution. Today guerrilla groups, self-proclaimed communists, state that they want to seize state power in Colombia by violent means, and organizations such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) continue their four decades old war with the United States-backed Colombian government.
National Front was a period in the history of Colombia in which the two main political parties, the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, agreed to rotate power, intercalating for a period of four presidential terms. The National Front Presidents were Alberto Lleras Camargo (Liberal), Guillermo León Valencia (Conservative), Carlos Lleras Restrepo (Liberal), and Misael Pastrana Borrero (Conservative).
The Judeo-Masonic conspiracy is an antisemitic, antimasonic conspiracy theory involving an alleged secret coalition of Jews and Freemasons. These theories were popular on the far-right, particularly in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Russia, and Eastern Europe, with similar allegations still being published.
Guerrilla movements in Colombia refers to the origins, development and actions of guerrilla movements in the Republic of Colombia.
This is a timeline of events related to the Colombian armed conflict.
Politics of Valledupar refers to the political processes in the Colombian city of Valledupar in Cesar Department. The local politics of Valledupar take places within the framework of the Politics of Colombia which are based on a presidential system and representative democratic republic.
Dumar Aljure was a Colombian guerrilla fighter and political figure.
Presidential elections were held in Colombia on 5 May 1946, pitching the Colombian Conservative Party against two different Colombian Liberal Party candidates. The Liberals received more votes combined, but due to their division the result was a victory for Mariano Ospina Pérez of the Conservative Party, who received 41.4% of the vote. One of the Liberal candidates, Gabriel Turbay, was also supported by the Social Democratic Party.