Seeing ‘Reds’ in Colombia: Reconsidering the ‘Bogotazo’, 1948


  • James Trapani Western Sydney University



The Latin American Cold War theatre was distinct from the global struggle between American capitalism and Soviet communism. The Soviet Union had very little infuence on the region prior to Fidel Castro’s 1960 declaration of Marxism-Leninism. Despite this, a plethora of social struggles spanning virtually every Latin American republic have been broadly grouped together – defned by this Latin American ‘Cold War’. This paper seeks to determine the origins of this paradoxical defnition. It will argue that the convenient alignment of national and international crises was utilized by US Secretary of State George C Marshall in April 1948.  The establishment of the Organization of American States sought to realize the political alignment of the hemisphere against ‘Communism’, both Soviet and internal. This confounded many Latin American leaders as communism, while evident, did not pose any legitimate threat to their nations or the region. Hence, Marshall’s sale of an anti-communist declaration, which would decrease the sovereignty of individual states, was made quite diffcult during initial negotiations. Conveniently, On April 9 Colombia was brought to the brink of Civil War following the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. The US State Department knew that the ensuing Colombian Bogotazo was not related to the global Cold War. They had intelligence on the populist liberal Gaitán and the violent response to his assassination. Nevertheless, the opportunity to internationalize the crisis was seized by Marshall.  In doing so, the Latin American Cold War emerged with devastating national and regional consequences.

Biografia do Autor

James Trapani, Western Sydney University

Is an early career researcher and academic based at Western Sydney University




Como Citar

Trapani, J. (2016). Seeing ‘Reds’ in Colombia: Reconsidering the ‘Bogotazo’, 1948. Esboços: Histórias Em Contextos Globais, 23(36), 352–372.