CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
This was the year of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen by the newly born United Nations and the resumption of the Olympic Games, discontinued in 1936 due to World War II. In neighboring Colombia, the murder of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán unleashed a wave that prevails to date with the involvement of some groups. That period is known by Colombians as "the Violence"
Colombia still cries for Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a superb lawyer and speaker who was killed as he attempted to change the country File Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation
Many years later, the deadly shots at Jorge Gaitán are
still heard at Bogotá's Seventh Street. It was not raining
on that morning of April 9th, 1948 in the capital city. There,
two meetings were concomitantly held -the Ninth Pan-American
Conference, with government representatives of the Americas,
including a popular, leftwing Venezuelan President Rómulo
Betancourt, and a Latin American rally organized by a fresh-faced,
21-year-old law student called Fidel Castro.
Gaitán was running as candidate of the Liberal Party for the 1950 election. The superb lawyer and speaker had been Bogotá's mayor and minister of Education. He was reluctant to have a bodyguard and the idea would make him furious. On April 8th, he organized the "March of Silence," against displacement of peasants to the cities as a result of landlords' violence. Julio Ortiz, a friend of him, warned him: "Jorge Eliécer, you will be killed, look after yourself." "The people take care of me," answered Gaitán. "The killer knows that he will also kill the people in the event of killing me."
It was a premonitory statement. In El Gato Negro, his favorite café, besides Agustín Nieto building, where his law office was located, Juan Roa Sierra, 21, awaited him. But Gaitán did not show up. Roa looked for him at his office and asked to talk to him, but he did not go beyond the front desk. At 1:00 p.m., Gaitán went for lunch together with some friends. Roa fired three shots at him. Five minutes later, Gaitán died at the Clínica Central. Less than one hour later, Roa was battered to death in a corner of Bolívar square.
The Bogotazo started. Castro was expected to meet with Gaitán at 2:00 p.m., but Gaitán never arrived. At 5:00 p.m. the city was in turmoil; there were attempts at storming into the presidential palace in the midst of bloodshed.
The fire has not extinguished. From 1948 to 1953, the period known by Colombians as "the Violence," 180,000 people were killed. The Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) claim to be the children of the Bogotazo. Both Castro and the CIA have been accused of being the masterminds. The official history just acknowledges that Roa was a disturbed man, a lonely killer.
Meanwhile, at the Agustín Nieto building, Seventh Street, his celebrated remark can be heard in a recorded speech: "Follow me if I advance; give me a push if I stop; kill me if I betray you; take revenge if I die." At the entrance, there is always some begging peasant family displaced by the violence. And Jorge Eliécer is portrayed in the 1,000 Colombian pesos note.
Also in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed; Mahatma Gandhi was killed, and the Olympic Games resumed in London after a 12-year break.
5.- Renewed status
6.- Radio Capital
9.- Cyber Radio
MEMORY GAME >>
Try your ability to keep images in your head and discover wonderful pictures of all times !