During his presidency, on April 9, 1948, the liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was assassinated in confusing circumstances by Juan Roa.

- Mariano Ospina Pérez

Nathaniel Weyl documents the assassination claims then made by the Colombian General Secretary, Rafael Azula Barrera, and the President of Colombia, Mariano Ospina Pérez, that Gaitán was assassinated as part of a Cold War conspiracy led by the Soviet Union to increase its influence in the Caribbean.

- Juan Roa Sierra

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The corpse of Juan Roa was displayed by the mob in the Bolívar Square

Bogotazo

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The corpse of Juan Roa was displayed by the mob in the Bolívar Square

El Bogotazo (from "Bogotá" and the -azo suffix of violent augmentation) refers to the massive riots that followed the assassination in Bogotá, Colombia of Liberal leader and presidential candidate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on 9 April 1948 during the government of President Mariano Ospina Pérez.

A bystander, Gabriel Restrepo, collected the remains of his clothes and found some personal documents, which identified him as 26-year-old Juan Roa Sierra.

Jorge Eliécer Gaitán

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Left-wing Colombian politician and charismatic leader of the Liberal Party.

Left-wing Colombian politician and charismatic leader of the Liberal Party.

Monument to Gaitán, in Medellín, Colombia

The Liberal Party was defeated in the May 1946 elections by the Conservatives' Mariano Ospina Pérez (565,939 votes, president from 1946 to 1950) due to its own internal divisions, evidenced by its presenting two different candidates, Gaitán (358,957 votes) and Gabriel Turbay (441,199 votes), in that year's race.

Gaitán's alleged murderer, Juan Roa Sierra, was killed by an enraged mob, and his motivations were never known.

In September 1949, Senator Gustavo Jiménez was assassinated mid-session, in Congress.

La Violencia

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Ten-year civil war in Colombia from 1948 to 1958, between the Colombian Conservative Party and the Colombian Liberal Party, fought mainly in the countryside.

Ten-year civil war in Colombia from 1948 to 1958, between the Colombian Conservative Party and the Colombian Liberal Party, fought mainly in the countryside.

In September 1949, Senator Gustavo Jiménez was assassinated mid-session, in Congress.
Painting of Eliseo Velásquez leading guerrilla forces. Fernando Botero "Guerrilla de Eliseo Velásquez" (1988).

In the 1946 election, Mariano Ospina Pérez of the Conservative party won the presidency, largely because the Liberal votes were split between two Liberal candidates.

On April 9, 1948, Liberal Party leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was assassinated by Juan Roa Sierra on the street in Bogotá, via three shots from a revolver.