Despite having dissolved as an armed group in 1990, the M-19 guerrilla group of Colombia has regained global attention due to Colombia's recent presidential elections. Gustavo Petro, new Colombian president elect, is a former M-19 fighter who participated in guerrilla activities and even became of its political leaders.
The M-19 group finds its origins from an allegedly-fraudulent presidential election on the 19th of April 1970. These allegations suggest that Gustavo Rojas Pinilla was denied an electoral victory. The guerrilla group was primarily nationalist, revolutionary socialist, and was self-proclaimed to be fighting to reinstall peace and democracy within Colombia. With around 2000 active members, the M-19 became the second-largest guerrilla group in Colombia after the FARC.
This guerrilla group gained heavy recognition after its theft of Bolivar’s sword (1974) and the Dominican Republic Embassy siege (1980) seen on the first slide. However, its siege of the Colombian Palace of Justice made the M-19 group gain attention worldwide after 35 of its fighters entered the Supreme Court of Colombia and held 300 politicians and lawyers hostage. Interestingly, it is rumoured that this siege was supported and masterminded by Pablo Escobar in order to burn and destroy important evidence which supported his crimes. Other activities orchestrated by the M-19 group involved the murder of politicians and further thefts of arms.
As aforementioned, the group gave up arms in 1990 and became a legitimate political party. Although the party lost significant legitimacy over time, Gustavo Petro’s election shows signs of resurgence and a continued legacy of the April 19 movement. Petro is currently affiliated to the Humane Colombia movement and will become Colombia’s first ever leftist president.
NOTE: This article will be updated soon.