The vice presidential candidate for the Patriotic Union (UP) party, Aida Avella, has said a Bogota graffiti mural honoring 4,000 victims of UP-related political violence had been vandalized by a group of Colombians calling themselves Neo-Nazis, local media reported on Sunday night.
According to Avella, the group consisted of around “fifty armed men.” The reported on Sunday vandalism included a long strip of white paint across the large stretch of graffiti artwork, covered with slogans like “fascism and totalitarianism” and “Out UP. Out FARC. Colombia is free.” A photo posted to Avella’s Twitter account showed ‘tags’ on the mural from right-leaning groups “Tercera Fuerza,” “Comando Radical” and “Cabezas Rapadas Nacionalistas.”
— Canal Capital (@CanalCapital) April 13, 2014
The mural, located in Bogota’s graffiti-filled Calle 26, is split into three sections; one dedicated to the memory of the victims of UP related violence, a second to the union violence itself and a third criticizing the forced displacement in Colombia.
FACTSHEET: Patriotic Union party
The Union Patriotica or Patriotic Union (UP) is a leftist political party that was co-founded by the guerrilla group, the FARC, in the mid-1980s. From 1986 to 1990, between four and six thousand members of the Patriotic Union were murdered, including presidential candidate, Bernardo Jaramillo, who was slated to run in 1990. 2013 marked the first time the UP was allowed to put forward political candidates in over a decade after having their legal status revoked in 2002 for lack of members and supporters.
The members of Tercera Fuerza (Third Force), a right-wing group of Colombians with Nazi party leanings, were headed until recently by a man named Alfredo Devia, known as “El Comandante” by his followers. Devia was reportedly killed a week ago in a neighborhood of Bogota after making extortion payments in the area, according to El Espectador.
On their Twitter page the group denied any involvement with the vandalism events in Bogota, stating that “this is not the first time that the name of Tercera Fuerza has been used in attributing acts of vandalism.”
The location of the vandalised graffiti, in Bogota’s Calle 26, has recently been a focus of Colombian news after the Interim Mayor of Bogota, Rafael Pardo, agreed to not remove graffiti as long as the street art is performed “in a responsible way,” following a meeting with graffiti artists who previously had claimed they were being persecuted.
- Neonazis la emprendieron contra murales en honor a víctimas de la UP (Radio Santa Fe)
- Denuncian que neonazis dañaron grafitis en honor a las víctimas en Bogotá (Caracol Radio)
- Se revive polemica por los grafitis en Bogota (El Tiempo)
- Asesinan lider neonazi en Bogota (El Espectador)