Carlos Pizarro Leongómez knew that the signing of peace with the Colombian Government was also his death sentence. On April 26, 1990, less than two months after laying down his arms as the M-19 guerrilla commander, he was assassinated, a crime that shook the country and that 30 years later continues in impunity.RELATED
He expressed that conviction, not fear, many times to his relatives and his surroundings, the last one the night before the murder when he went to a restaurant in Bogotá to have dinner with friends whom he had not seen in years because of his guerrilla militancy.
“He was a little late and he wasn’t wearing the bulletproof vest and then my sister asked him: ‘Why don’t you have the vest?’ And my dad said to him: ‘Because if they are going to kill me, they shoot me in the My head and vest are useless to me. ‘He told us that they were very likely going to kill him very soon and that the only thing he was asking us was not to forget it. And the next day they killed him, “María José Pizarro told Efe. , his daughter and political heiress.
The next morning the country was shaken by the news that the charismatic leader of the April 19 Movement (M-19), the man who weeks before had wagered everything on peace and had become a presidential candidate for the Democratic Alliance party M -19, had been killed on a plane in mid-flight. He was only 38 years old.
Carlos Pizarro had taken an Avianca plane bound for Barranquilla where on April 26 he would campaign as a presidential candidate, but shortly after takeoff the hitman got up from his chair and shot him several times in the head, as he had warned hours earlier. to his closest friends what would happen.
A CONVINCED OF PEACE
After spending half his life in the bush with his rifle on his shoulder, Pizarro was convinced that negotiating peace was the starting point for the transformation of Colombia and that is why he had decided to take that step that was completed March 9, 1990 when he signed peace with the then Colombian President Virgilio Barco (1986-1990).
“There is a moment when Carlos takes the decision of peace in Colombia very seriously, he had tried it towards the mid-80s, then came that very hard moment (of the taking) of the Palace of Justice (by the M-19) but when Carlos in the year 89 made the decision for peace, he was absolutely radical and was completely playing for it, “the president of the Truth Commission, the Jesuit priest Francisco de Roux, told Efe.
De Roux, who was a friend and professor of Pizarro at the Javeriana University of Bogotá, explained that the M-19 commander was so convinced of peace that “that’s why he leaves the mountain and comes with all the decision to take all the risks “which implied the passage to political life.
COUNTRY BATHED IN BLOOD
In the turbulent years of the second half of the 1980s and early 1990s, Colombia was in a blood orgy in which drug traffickers, paramilitaries, guerrillas, and state agents intervened, putting the country on the brink of being “a failed state “, a war that claimed the lives of thousands of citizens, including many, politicians, magistrates, judges and journalists.
In the months leading up to the assassination, two other presidential candidates who also represented options for change in the country had been shot dead.
The first was the liberal Luis Carlos Galán, on August 18, 1989 during a rally in the town of Soacha, south of Bogotá, and seven months later, on March 22, 1990 at the Puente Aéreo terminal at El Dorado airport, he was assassinated Bernardo Jaramillo Ossa, of the left-wing Unión Patriótica (UP) party, victim of a genocide that cost the lives of more than 4,000 of its militants.
Carlos Pizarro Leongómez was next and just 31 days after that assassination, Colombians attended the bloodiest presidential elections in their history, in which the liberal César Gaviria, successor to Galán, was elected. Antonio Navarro Wolff, who took the flags of Pizarro, was third.
Of good oratory, with solid intellectual training and fame of seducer for his good physical resemblance, Carlos Pizarro was the fourth commander of the M-19, a post he ascended to in 1986 after the death of founder Jaime Bateman Cayón (1984) and of those who Iván Marino Ospina (1985) and Álvaro Fayad (1986) followed.
The prestige that Pizarro accumulated as a guerrilla commander became massive popular support when, in the hamlet of Santo Domingo, in the department of Cauca, in the act of laying down his arms, he handed over his pistol wrapped in a national flag “for peace and dignity of Colombia “, and entered fully into politics with his inevitable white hat with a black band around the glass.
“We have the possibility of dividing the history of Colombia in two with a single objective: to unite the Colombians. We offer something elementary, simple and straightforward: that life is not killed in the spring,” he said in April 1990, in one of the television programs of his presidential campaign, days before he was assassinated.
Priest De Roux believes that if Pizarro had not been assassinated, Colombia would be different, regardless of whether or not he had won the 1990 presidential elections.
“I do believe that the loss of a man like Carlos was of immense cost to Colombia. Carlos was a man of great capacity to inspire enthusiasm and a leader who was well loved, of that I have no doubt. I was really impressed by his consistency when he decided on peace, he played it all, “he said.
FIGHT AGAINST IMPUNITY