[Note: I'm not working with Gloria Gaitan
in my project to obtain declassified US documents, and don't consider her
to be a reliable source.
I don't think the Colombian government has made any recent requests for information about Gaitan
, but it might help if they did. - Paul ]
BOGOTA, Colombia, April 26 (Reuters) - Gloria Gaitan
still remembers the smell of ashes and the glowing red sky from the riots that erupted the day her
father was gunned down 54 years ago.
"It's as if the clock stopped that afternoon.In a way, I haven't buried my father," Gaitan
, now 64, said.
...For more than 40 years, Gloria Gaitan, who is now the director of the Jorge Eliecer Gaitan Foundation, has been searching for clues to learn who was behind the killing, traveling to Cuba and the United States to interview intelligence officers and seeking to declassify documents.
murder ended a populist movement that sought to integrate Colombia socially and politically as a nation," Ayala said.
, a mestizo of humble origins, rose to prominence in the 1940s with a populist left-leaning message against Colombia's conservative and European-descended elites.His
promises of land reform sparked hope among impoverished peasants, long neglected by Bogota's political establishment.
A skilled orator, Gaitan
also pledged to install a "people's government" that would end a two-party system that has ruled the country since independence in 1819.
was assassinated in a Bogota street, mass rioting erupted in the capital and other cities.
The killing of Gaitan
has inspired streams of conspiracy literature and Cold War-era political intrigue.The gunman was lynched by an angry mob and dragged half naked down the streets.But his
motive remains a mystery.
Throughout the years, CIA agents have been suggested as possible plotters.Another theory points to a communist plan designed to destabilize the country.The presence in Bogota of a young Fidel Castro -- who held an interview with Gaitan
two days before his murder -- has added to the intrigue.
...Gloria Gaitan claims her father's killing was masterminded by then Conservative president Mariano Ospina Perez in complicity with the Central Intelligence Agency.
was killed, his
widow took the body to the family home and vowed the corpse would not leave the house until the government was removed from office.The body was embalmed and lay in state in the living room for 19 days.Fearing the vigil would spark more unrest, the government bought the house and buried Gaitan
in the living room. Gloria Gaitan, who served in former Chilean President Salvador Allende's administration, believes Colombia needs to understand its past to get out of its current mess.
"We are the children of La Violencia.The search for Gaitan
is a search through our history."