VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > D. Latin America, 1945–2000 > 2. South America, 1945–2000 > h. Colombia
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See Nov. 26)
h. Colombia
1946, May 4
Conservative leader Mariano Ospina Pérez became president. He organized the new political police, used by the Conservatives to terrorize and murder Liberals.  1
1948, April 9
The assassination of left-wing Liberal JORGE ELIÉCER GAITÁN (1903–48), who was expected to win the 1950 presidential elections, touched off a major upheaval (known as the Bogatazo), interrupting the Ninth Pan-American Conference in Bogotá. Thousands died in the insurrection, which saw widespread rioting in the cities, occupation of foreign-owned oil installations, and hacienda takeovers by peasants in the highlands. Elite Liberals and Conservatives, frightened by the violence, initially decided to join together in a group called the National Union to protect their interests. This alliance soon broke down, and in the ensuing months a reign of terror that would last until the 1960s (known as LA VIOLENCIA) was instituted against the Liberals and all other opposition groups. As many as 300,000 died in the violence. Terrorist actions by the political police were widespread. Clashes between peasants and landlords increased in frequency, and well-organized guerrilla movements emerged in the countryside in support of oppressed groups. As shown in the writings of Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude, 1967), La Violencia profoundly affected the tenor of Colombian political and social life.  2
1949, June 5
Congressional elections gave the Liberals a reduced majority.  3
Nov. 27
Following a violent campaign costing over 1,000 lives, the Conservative Laureano Gómez was elected president. The Liberals boycotted the election.  4
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.