Monday, May 13, 2013

Jaime Garzón

Following on from my street art exploring, when I was browsing through the photos, I noticed this name pop up more than a few times, Jaime Garzón. At first, I thought he was a street artist (there goes the little street cred I had) so I decided to Google him.

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Time to learn a bit of Colombian history, kids. Turns out Jaime Garzón  was and still is an influential yet controversial character. He rose to fame during the 90s as a political satirist on TV in programs such as Zoociedad and "¡Quac! El Noticero". Spanish speakers may be interested to see an example of his work below:


However, this was not the only string to his bow; Garzón was also a journalist and peace activist engaged with negotiations with the FARC. Garzón began a law degree at Universidad Nacional de Colombia but his involvement in politics and journalism prevented him from completing his studies. Before stepping into the limelight, Garzón was mayor of Sumapaz, a district in Bogota. He is noted for having improved the standard of living in the municipality. However, he caused controversy when responding to a telegram about the number of legal brothels in Sumapaz. Garzón responded: "Después de una inspección visual, informo que aquí las únicas putas, son las putas FARC." (Translation: "After a close inspection, the only whores here are the f*cking FARC) His humour unfortunately did not go down well in the political world. Consequently, this amongst other things led to Garzón being fired.

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Garzón continued with his peace activism and journalism until his murder in 1999. The circumstances of his murder are still under investigation although it has been linked to right-wing paramilitaries. Garzón's legacy continues to this day, being a figurehead, in particular for students.

Image via Rubén.G

“Si ustedes los jóvenes no asumen la dirección de su propio país, nadie va a venir a salvárselos”,

How do you learn about the history of the places you are visiting?

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