This comment is a continuation of the YIRA Winter 2016 International Trip Group’s Bogotá, Colombia Trip Summary.
Learning more about the FARC’s underlying ideology was particularly compelling, as the FARC is essentially the only modern pure-Marxist guerilla organization. In our meeting with Professor Angelika Rettberg of Universidad de los Andes, we learned more about the development in the organization’s ideology over the extensive conflict. Specifically, there is a marked distinction between the original, pure Marxist ideology, and its function in modern day practice. As the movement progressed, its leaders became less steadfast in their ideology, while the largely rural, poorer combatants maintained their dedication to the FARC’s underlying Marxist ideology. Further, as the peace process has progressed and FARC leaders have tried to secure political representation, ideology has become further diluted; with the future eventual inclusion of the FARC into the political system will come a departure from underlying ideology altogether, as entrance into the preexisting political system represents the antithesis of the revolution Marxism demands. Conjectures about how rural FARC members will respond to this lapse in ideology vary, between rejecting the newly officially politically integrated group, to a degree of acceptance.
We also focused on the cultural manifestations of conflict and political tensions in Colombia, through excursions including a graffiti tour of la Candelaria, a historic area in downtown Bogotá. The graffiti tour highlighted the aesthetic and political implications and meanings of street art, both with respect to general Colombian culture, and the conflict in particular. In Colombia, street art is highly respected, and private individuals and government officials alike commission art on building and office exteriors. Art ranged from aesthetically beautiful without overt political commentary, such as the top image, to primarily politically motivated pieces, such as the piece on the bottom of the page.