Full Text

Colombia, armed insurgency, peasant self-defense, and radical popular movements, 1960s–1970s

Hermann Ruiz


Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place South America » Colombia

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics guerilla war, movements, revolution, rural

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00372.x


Extract

The 1960s in Colombia were marked by the aftermath of La Violencia (The Violence), a period of violent civil war. From the 1950s, the war saw fascist paramilitary groups on the conservative side and guerillas and self-defense groups on the liberal side. The confrontation ended in most regions with an accord signed by liberals in which they agreed to share state administration and power by creating the Frente Nacional (National Front, FN, 1958–74). Upper- and middle-class liberals, whose properties were endangered, were no longer interested in the armed conflict after this pact. Nevertheless, the cause led by the liberals did not take account of the needs of the landless peasants and the agrarian proletariat. Thus, the peasants organized land occupations. They argued that fallow lands should be distributed among landless peasants and that the legitimacy of existing land titles should be questioned. They also called for property rights and freedom of cultivation. Peasant self-defense was not unknown in Colombia before this point. In the 1930s, peasant organizations had also used this strategy, united with legal actions supported by the Colombian Communist Party (PCC). These groups were known as Guardia Roja (Red Guard), Correo Rojo (Red Mail), Juntas de Colonos (Meetings of Colonies), and Comisión de Litigio (Litigation Commission). The occupations were sometimes spontaneously organized ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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