Colombian Communists… back in the spotlight

Yezid Arteta Dávila

Almudena Grandes, the prolific writer from Madrid, said in an interview in El País that ‘in the history of the Spanish Communist Party there is enough glory to hide their misfortunes’. I think the same about the Colombian Communist Party – an organisation that last July closed its twenty first Congress in Bogotá. Such is the price in blood and martyrdom that its members have paid since its founding to the present day that this dramatic occurrence would deserve a place in the pages of the history of Colombia.

Pages that are blotted with the vicissitudes through which this political group has passed.

There was a generation of Colombian communists who possessed an iron will and, like some of Balzac’s characters, were able to redeem criminals imprisoned in jail and create a Party cell with them.

As for the communists of the late eighties and early nineties, they were men and women who went to the sacrificial stone and were shot without the chance to speak in their defence, as if they were targets for shooting practice or running around proclaiming the Party’s message from the rooftops surrounded by hungry lions.

They seemed motivated by the same kind of faith with which the early Christians proclaimed their gospel. How many communists were sent by the party organisations to the most remote parts of the country to replace a patriotic mayor or councillor killed the night before?

Off they went, out of mere loyalty to the organisation. Filled with fear and with only their moral convictions as a weapon to defend themselves. They knew that a few hours later they were going to die by a bullet, machete, stones, a garrotte…but still they went.

But the history of the Colombian communists has not only

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