Jason Christian It has often been said of Colombia's parties that you do not join them, you are born into them; and indeed they act more as territorial and familial units than as peacefully functioning parties with distinct political platforms One night in December, a huge crowd gathered in Ciénaga (30 miles north of Aracataca) to hold a demonstration. In order to quell the incident, the Conservative government sent in the troops, who fired on the unarmed workers, killing hundreds. Over the next few months, more people simply vanished, and finally the whole incident was officially denied and struck from the history books. García Márquez would later incorporate the incident in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Tensions rose, and on April 9, 1948, Gaitán was assassinated in Bogotá. His grandfather was Colonel Nicolás Ricardo Márquez Mejía, a Liberal veteran of the War of a Thousand Days. He lived in Aracataca, a banana town by the Caribbean, a village which he helped found. The Colonel was something of a hero to the costeños, for
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