Colombia: A Lapse of Memory

Memories evidently are short in Colombia, the largest of the working democracies remaining in South America. Little more than a decade ago, the country writhed under the dictatorship of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, who was installed by the country's civilian and military leadership in 1953 to help bring an end to la violencia that eventually claimed 200,000 lives. Graft and jack-booted brutality characterized his regime. One memorable day in 1956, when Rojas' banner was raised in the Bogota bullring, squads of plainclothes police with knives and billy clubs closed in on spectators who failed to applaud. After a wave...

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