Violencia politica en la narrativa colombiana

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Although Colombia has been hailed as a long-standing democracy in Latin

America, the country has lived in a State of permanent war for two centuries. In the

nineteenth century, Colombia was the scene of eight general civil wars, fourteen local

civil wars and three military uprisings. Also, in the twentieth century, it witnessed one

of the biggest insurrections in the Western Hemisphere, followed by the longest of its

wars that is elusively called “La Violence”. This dissertation addresses precisely the

political violence triggered by the rivalry of the two traditional political parties, the

Liberals and the Conservatives in the 1940s and 1950s. By using two early

representative works of what critics have deemed a genre in its self, “the violence

novel in Colombia," this work traces a systematic political violence that is rooted in a

long history but manifest new scenarios and practices. The first novel is Carlos

Pareja’s El Monstruo (1955), which recounts the details of the assassination of the

liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on April 9, 1948, and the subsequent wave of

violence that destroyed downtown Bogotá. The second work is Daniel Caicedo’s

Viento seco (1954), which presents the political terror implemented by the

conservative governments of Mariano Ospina Pérez (1946-1950) and Laureano

Gómez (1950-1953), in order to obliterate the liberal leaning citizens. Through these

textual reenactments of violence, the reader can access a history that has been

suppresses and censored by the Sate while gaining an understanding of the

methodology behind the rituals of political violence. This study reveals how the State

suspends all legal structures becoming a criminal State, a State that is the enemy of its

own society and that only can be exposed by the testimony of literature. As a

theoretical framework, this dissertation dialogues with fundamental concepts

explored by Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamín, Elias Canetti, Gilles Deleuze and

Félix Guattari. Also, it engages the specific anthropological studies of María Victoria

Uribe, Donny Meertens and Pierre Clastres, in order to reveal the cultural symbolism

of biopolitical rituals that feed on bodies and death. This reevaluation of “La

Violencia” can help contextualize for the waves of violence that have subsequently

affected Colombia.