The Spanish Civil War and the Performance of Politics in Colombia, 1936–49

Friday, January 8, 2016: 2:30 PM
International Ballroom B (Atlanta Marriott Marquis)
Thomas J. Williford, Southwest Minnesota State University
In the 1930s and 1940s, many Colombian politicians and publicists promoted the Spanish Civil War as a metaphor for the politics and political violence between the traditional Liberal and the Conservative parties.  From the beginning of the Spanish conflict in July 1936, an “it-can-happen-here” attitude frequently appeared in speeches and newspapers, while both Liberals and Conservatives commemorated the Spanish war in public events which the opposition contested with their actions and protests—Liberals in favor of the Republic and Conservatives in support of Franco and the Nationalists.   Party militants interpreted and reacted to incidents in Colombia within the context of Spain; these included conflicts over the use of public buildings for schools run by religious orders, political violence such as the massacre of Conservatives in Gachetá in 1939; the brief arrest of Laureano Gómez in 1944, and, most spectacularly, the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán and the ensuing riots on April 9, 1948.
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