Former Colombian vice-presidential candidate Aida Avella announced that her left-wing Patriotic Union Party must reorganize and unite in order to achieve its goals.
The long time UP member, who assumed the presidency of her party on Thursday, told Colombia Reports that she finds her party in a state of restructuring, and that Colombia’s left, in general, is very fractured.
“There is a necessity to unite to be able to achieve our goals,” Avella said, adding that “our essence is to look for unity of the left.”
Avella said her focus as party president will be “first to continue with the reorganization of the party at a national level. Second, look to contribute to the Broad Front for peace and democracy, that is made up of Colombia’s most progressive sectors. Third, look into how we are going to approach the 2015 regional and local elections united with Colombia’s left and local community movements.”
The Patriotic Union Party was formed as the political arm of Colombia’s largest rebel group, FARC; however, once the party proved to be politically successful in the 1980s, a systematic extermination of its members was carried-out in a bloody campaign of assassinations.
Estimates put the number anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 UP members who were assassinated by paramilitaries, drug cartels, and the Armed Forces.
PROFILE: Union Patriotica (Patriotic Union)
The Patriotic Union continues to be threatened today. Earlier this week, student party members from a university in Periera was threatened by a neo-paramilitary group in a letter calling the students “rats meant to killed,” according to an article on the UP website.
The 2014 presidential elections had one of the strongest electoral performances of Colombia’s left in recent history garnering just under two million votes.
In the most recent Congressional elections; however, no one from the Patriotic Union was elected into the Senate or the House of Representatives.
- Paramilitares “Aguilas Negras” amenazan de muerte a estudiantes de la Universidad Tecnologica de Pereira e Integrantes de la UP (Patriotic Union)
- Interview with Aida Avella