It is 70 years of television in Colombia: this is how the conflict and peace in Colombia has been covered

It is 70 years of television in Colombia: this is how the conflict and peace in Colombia has been covered
It is 70 years of television in Colombia: this is how the conflict and peace in Colombia has been covered

Colombian television has witnessed various key moments of the armed conflict in Colombia in the seven decades it has been on the air in Colombia.

Photo: The Spectator

The almost six decades of armed conflict that brings to the country have passed through the eyes of millions of viewers and, without a doubt, have also marked the history of Colombian television that This Thursday it turns 70 years on the air. Behind that screen, Colombians have witnessed the events cruelest of war and also the most hopeful.

Along with the documentaries, the realitiesgame shows and soap operas, news of peace and war have marked the grid and transmissions and, in some way, they have become the historical memory of a country with a very short memory. There are images recorded by journalist Germán Castro Caycedo of the emergence of the FARC in Marquetalia, in 1964. Also of the take the justice Palaceone of the bloodiest assaults carried out in the country and which led to disappearances and torture.

These events have not only marked the history of the armed conflict in Colombia, but have also had significant media coverage that has influenced public perception and the national debate on peace and violence in the country. ¿How to forget, for example, the symbolic and very significant incident of the empty chair when the then commander of the FARC, Manuel Marulanda Vélez, known as “Tirofijo”, did not show up for a meeting with President Andrés Pastrana?

Other more hopeful episodes have also appeared on the small screen, such as the call Operation Check which resulted in the release of 15 people who were held hostage by the former FARC, including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three US contractors and 11 Colombian military and police officers. Also the signing of the Peace Agreement with that guerrilla.

Even the novels themselves have helped, with nuances, the historical memory of the country. In 2022, the Gumelab research laboratory, a project of the Institute of Latin American Studies of the Free University of Berlin in which historians, political scientists, communicators and professionals from other disciplines from Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Germany and the United States work, published the work thesis Transmission of history through entertainment media. The project, which they also called “soap operas of memory” was directed by the Colombian researcher and historian Mónika Contreras Saiz.

For the historian, time and the maturity of the public have led to the evolution of products such as “narcofiction” —which became the format par excellence in Colombia— to other more inclusive and complex ones. “Novels like Escobar, the patron of evil, The girl, The sun does not rise for everyoneI would dare say that also Wild District either even the most recent News of a kidnapping They were looking for real political representation. This is what we call the authentication of reality, because we are no longer using the ‘any resemblance to reality is a coincidence’, but here the real names, real images, historical archive come out and all this comes from the memory processes that “As a country we began to do, from the need for truth and the possibility that we have had in various justice and other actions to know it,” the historian then explains to this newspaper.

In context: Escobar, La Niña, Distrito Salvaje: historical memory in soap operas

In a country where history classes were no longer taught for 35 years, television has been, for better and worse, that kind of history. It has done dissemination, education, propaganda and, above all, it has raised public awareness. Television networks have shown the public the realities of the conflict, including clashes, forced displacements, massacres and the living conditions of the victims. Its role in making the conflict visible and disseminating the peace processes has been fundamental to inform and educate the population, as well as to encourage citizen participation in the construction of peace. This has helped, for the most part, to generate awareness and empathy among the population.

Here are some of the moments that have been seen on the small screen:

1. Emergence of the FARC (1964)

The creation of the now-defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 1964 marked the beginning of one of the country’s longest and most significant guerrillas.

Photo taken in the 60s of the then FARC commander, Manuel Marulanda, known as Tirofijo. Credit: AFP

Photo: AFP – —

2. Taking of the Palace of Justice (1985)

The assault and retaking of the Palace of Justice by the M-19 guerrilla group and the military response on November 6 and 7, 1985, resulted in the deaths of more than 100 people, including magistrates, guerrillas and civilians.

The tragedy of the Palace of Justice 32 years later | The viewer

3. Demobilization of the M-19 (1990)

The delivery of weapons in March 1990 by the M-19 guerrilla – where the now president Gustavo Petro was active – was an important milestone in the search for negotiated solutions to the armed conflict.

What was the purpose of peace with the M-19 guerrilla? – Let’s Make Memory

4. Assassinations of presidential candidates (1989-1990)

The assassination of presidential candidates Luis Carlos Galán (1989), Carlos Pizarro (1990) and Bernardo Jaramillo (1990) reflected the intense political violence that was shaking the country.

Carlos Pizarro, Luis C. Galán and Bernardo Jaramillo: presidential candidates murdered in Colombia

5. Constitution of 1991

The promulgation of the new Political Constitution in 1991, with the participation of former M-19 guerrillas, represented an effort to strengthen democracy and human rights.

30 years of the Seventh Ballot: this is how its protagonists remember the student movement

6. Cartel narcoterrorism (1980s and 1990s)

The violence unleashed by the Medellín and Cali cartels, including the death of political leaders and terrorist attacks such as the Avianca attack (1989) and the attack on the DAS building (1989) and the murder of Carlos Pizarro, M-19 commander and a key leader in negotiating the peace agreement and the group’s transition into legal politics. That decade also included the murder on December 17, 1986 of Guillermo Cano, then director of the The viewer. The incident was ordered by the Medellín cartel, led by Pablo Escobar, due to Cano’s constant complaints about drug trafficking. Then there was the bomb attack against the newspaper’s headquarters El Espectador in Bogotá, Colombia, on September 2, 1989.

1989: a year to remember

7. The empty chair (1999)

On January 7, 1999, a public meeting was scheduled in San Vicente del Caguán to inaugurate formal negotiations between the government and the FARC. Andrés Pastrana attended the meeting, but, Manuel Marulanda Vélez, known as Tirofijothen commander of that guerrilla, did not appear.

8. The massacres in Colombia (2000)

The massacres in Colombia have been closely linked to the internal armed conflict that involved guerrillas, paramilitaries, state forces and other armed actors. Among the best-known massacres are the El Salado massacre in 2000, where paramilitaries brutally murdered dozens of civilians, as well as the Bojayá massacre in 2002, where FARC guerrillas launched a cylinder bomb into a churchkilling more than 70 people.

Bojayá commemorates 17 years since the massacre | The viewer

9. Demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (2003-2006)

The demobilization process of the AUC paramilitaries during the government of Álvaro Uribe, who attempted to disarm these groups and reincorporate their members into society.

Photo: Gabriel Aponte – EE Archive

10. The bomb at the El Nogal club (2003)

On February 7, 2003, a bomb loaded with approximately 200 kg of explosives was detonated inside the El Nogal Club in Bogotá. The explosion left 36 people dead and more than 200 injured. The wave destroyed much of the building, causing a fire and partial collapses within the structure.

El Nogal: Don’t forget but keep walking

11. Kidnappings and releases (2008-2010)

During the armed conflict in Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) carried out numerous kidnappings, some of which focused on the capture of individuals who They were considered “exchangeable” for guerrilla prisoners or to obtain political and economic benefits. These kidnappings were part of their strategy of war and pressure against the Colombian State.

They managed to survive the FARC ‘cages of infamy’

Images of the moment of the surrender of the kidnapped people

12. Operation Check (2008)

The rescue of 15 kidnapped people, including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three American contractors and eleven Colombian military and police officers, carried out by the Colombian Army on July 2, 2008.

Operation Jaque: this is how released soldiers remember the feat after 12 years

13. Peace Agreement with the FARC (2016)

The historic signing of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC on November 24, 2016, which ended more than 50 years of armed conflict with this guerrilla group.

Signing of the New Peace Agreement

14. Delivery of the Final Report of the Truth Commission (2022)

The delivery of the final report of the Truth Commission, on June 28, 2022, was a crucial moment in the process of clarification and national reconciliation, seeking to address the impacts of the armed conflict that affected the country for several decades.

Ceremony for delivery of the Final Report of the Truth Commission | Colombia +20

15. A new negotiation with the ELN

The various attempts at peace processes with the National Liberation Army (ELN) continue to be a key point for Colombia. On November 21, 2022, the dialogue table was set up in Caracas, Venezuela.

Dialogues with the ELN: installation of the table in Caracas, Venezuela | Colombia +20

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